The Calgary Stampede is not only the biggest outdoor show on Earth, but it is also one of the biggest carnival fairs in Canada (if not THE biggest)! The Calgary Stampede is a display of Calgary’s spirit and pride, along with Western hospitality and liveliness. Albertans are hardworking people, but we also like to play hard.
After living in Calgary and being exposed to the Stampede EVERY year, one may get tired of it. However, I recently started attending the Stampede again with my friends, and I missed the wonder and awe of it. I used to go with my family when I was a kid, but going with friends is so much different! Much of the food served in Stampede are very oil-laden, so moderation is key. Obviously, I didn’t follow that advice. Here’s to a day of indulgence and deep-fried food! There is no particular order (except #16), but here are 16 things to eat at the Calgary Stampede 2016!
1. Perogies at International Perogies. The perogies they sell at International Perogies are so good! They have various flavours, including Teriyaki chicken perogies, which contained seaweed, spicy mayo and sauteed onions.
2. Mini donuts from Those Little Donuts. Ask any Calgarian, and they’ll agree that mini donuts are a Stampede staple! There are several stalls selling mini donuts, but the ones at Those Little Donuts are arguably the best.
3. Poutine from La Poutinerie. Poutine from La Poutinerie never fails. I ordered the vegetarian poutine (which contained vegetarian gravy, cheese curds, corn, carrots and celery) but they also sell the classic Quebecois poutine and other versions of poutine.
4. Wraps at Wrap Daddy’s. This was a new addition to Stampede a few years ago, and they sell handheld open wraps that you can eat with a fork. I got the vegetarian wrap, but they also have Thai noodle, chicken and more other flavours.
5. Lemonade from Family Squeezed Lemonade. Selling various kinds of lemonade, from Canteloupe to Strawberry Sterling, the Family Squeezed Lemonade is sure to quench your thirst after walking in the summer July heat of Calgary.
6. Deep-fried Reese’s cups at The Peanut Butter Cupboard. A new addition this year, the Peanut Butter Cupboard offers several interpretations of peanut butter, including deep fried Reese’s and deep friend PB&J sandwiches.
7. Frosted Flake-coated chicken from Chicken on a Stick. A very Stampede food: deep-fried meat on a stick. This one has a little twist on the classic though; the chicken is coated with sweet Frosted Flakes (you know, the sweet cornflakes you ate as a kid).
8. Funnel cake from any funnel cake stalls. Another Stampede (or any fair) staple, funnel cakes is synonymous with Stampede. This year’s theme is Oreo, so we ordered the Oreo-flavoured funnel cake, with crumbled Oreos and creme topping.
9. Baked cream cake from Delimanjoo. Located in the BMO Centre, this stall offers a lighter alternative to mini donuts. Soft and chewy cake with a creamy centre, these won’t replace the mini donuts but they’re still delicious nonetheless.
10. Oreo churros from any stall. Oreo churros are a new addition to the Midway this year! Deep fried oreo batter with a creme centre, these are sweet and delicious. The downside is the price: $6 for an 8-inch piece!
11. Watermelon in a watermelon from Drink a Fruit from the Fruit. Self-explanatory really. Watermelon or pineapple juice served in its fruit!
12. Lobster corn dog from Wiggle Chips. Corn dogs are another fair staple. Wiggle Chips’ new twist is using lobster in its hotdog, rather than just a hotdog itself. The lobster is a bit lost when mixed with the hotdog, but a good snack.
13. Deep-fried blooming onion from Colossal Onion. Battered, check. Deep-fried, check. Salty, check. A big onion “blossomed,” battered and deep-fried. I guarantee you won’t finish this all by yourself, so share with friends!
14. Hong Kong-style egg waffles from The Waffle King. Egg waffles (or bubble waffles) are a Hong Kong creation, which are waffles with circular “bubbles.” Creating bubbles makes it crispier. We ordered the egg waffle with black sesame and green tea ice cream, topped with Smarties and chocolate sauce. Sweetness overload!
15. J-cone ice cream from Crazy Cones. This is something you’d see in South Korea or Taiwan or even Vancouver’s night market. It’s a tube of corn-based cone, stuffed with ice cream inside. Very fun to eat!
16. Deep-fried pickles from Pickle Pete’s. I really wanted to try these, and I did for the first time this year. I like pickles normally, but I found the deep-fried pickles here to be too salty and not enough tang. Definitely a let-down for me.
A note about The Waffle King at the Calgary Stampede
I was pleasantly surprised that the people handling this stall weren’t Asian (very nice to see). I was unpleasantly surprised, however, when the lady didn’t even know (or didn’t want to know) what the black sesame ice cream tasted like! If you’re going to sell something, you should be confident in your products! That was definitely a turn-off in my books.