Crickets, rainbows and ramen buns — OTT food at the CNE

We ate the bugs so you don't have to.

CNE food 2016: Bug Bistro's Bug Dog

CNE food 2016 gives us the Bug Dog. (Photo, Irene Ngo.)

There are two ways to indulge if you visit the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto: you can walk down the midway for grilled corn, waffle ice cream sandwiches and tart lemonade — or you can make a beeline for the food building, where a hotbed of outrageous foods await.

This year, the food building beckons food thrill-seekers with a wild array of frankenfoods. The infamous Bug Dog, sprinkled liberally with Entomo Farms’ dried crickets, jockeys for notoriety with this year’s cronut burger, the Philly Steaklair: a cheesesteak-éclair crossover. Add in Yorkshire pudding bowls (and all-in-one Sunday roast bonanza), rainbow grilled cheese, Poké bowls and deep-fried butter tarts, as just a few of the OTT items getting headlines this week.

If you’re heading to The Ex between now and Labour Day weekend, here are five booths we visited that are bringing something new to the CNE this year:

1. Rainbow Grilled Cheese
Vendor: The Cheesery
Location: The Midway (by the Drop Zone)
Price: $8
Verdict: Rainbow cheese pulls are highly Instagrammable.


Rainbow grilled cheese sandwich_The Cheesery_CNE food 2016

By the Drop Zone, The Cheesery is serving up gooey, colourful grilled cheeses.

2. Ramen Burger
Vendor: Yatai by Liberty Noodle
Location: Food Building, booth 204
Price: $12
Verdict: Way better than that time we tried the cronut burger.

Ramen noodle burger_CNE food 2016

Yatai’s crisp ramen noodle ‘buns’.


3. Sushi burrito
Vendor: Su&Bu
Location: Food Building, booth 609
Price: $8
Verdict: Fun to try — but there was serious poké bowl FOMO post-order.

Sushi burrito_CNE food 2016

Su&Bu’s sushi burritos (above) and poké bowls win for the longest lineup!


4. Bug Dog
Vendor: Bug Bistro
Location: Food Building, booth 725
Price: $6
Verdict: The crickets were crunchy (and seasoned) so it looks a lot scarier than it tastes.

CNE food 2016: Bug Dog

Bug Bistro’s is also serving up Tacos Grillos, Crispy Critter Rolls, Beetle Juice Smoothies and Crickety Lime Pie, all featuring Ontario-farmed Crickets.

5. Deep-fried butter tart
Vendor: Pickle Pete’s
Location: The Midway (by the Drop Zone)
Price: $7
Verdict: Not for butter-tart purists.

Deep Fried butter tart_CNE 2016

In addition to the deep fired Oreo, Pickle Pete’s has added a deep fried butter tart to their menu of surprising fryables.

The CNE runs until Sept 5, 2016 in Toronto. Visit TheEx for more details.

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