Pickle-flavour cotton candy and foot-long French fries food highlights at Fair at the PNE

And, who needs mini donuts when plant-based treats are on this year’s PNE menu

Sandra Thomas Travel

From cricket caramel apples to ice-cream burgers, the Fair at the PNE is famous, or should that read “infamous,” for serving up some of the most unusual and wildest creations imaginable.

And this year is no exception. Beyond the traditional mini donuts and foot-long hotdogs, one of the hottest trends for 2019 is anything pickle flavoured, including the cotton candy.

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More than 10 per cent of the food offerings at the fair this year are new and there will be an increased focus on plant-based, vegan and vegetarian options.

“Food is a significant, and growing, part of the fair experience for the majority of our guests,” said Faizzal Fatehali, manager of exhibit space, in a press release. “We are responding to the demand from fairgoers for more vegan and vegetarian options in our food offerings and the 2019 fair will see a North American fair industry leading food selection related to that category.”

PNE food 2019
The fair food of the year for 2018 had to be the cricket-covered caramel apple. Photo Jennifer Gauthier

To that end, fairgoers will be able to choose a Beyond Meat burger at the Handmade Stuffed Burger Booth on the fair’s main food line or at the Lookout Grill in Playland. Vegetarian options come from a number of new food vendors, including Govinda’s Vegan Vegetarian Street Food stand featuring Dragon Bowls, Atomic Taco’s on the west food line and locally owed Buddha-Ful Vegetarian Food, featuring their popular double decker bus on the main food line.

Vegetarian options not your thing? Have no fear, additions to the traditional fair food this year include, bacon pancakes, butter beer ice cream, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos corndogs, funnel cake pizza, jalapeno lemonade, foot-long French fries, Devil’s ramen and the Tipsy Unicorn Dry Ice Drink.

And you won’t want to miss the pulled pork Tater Tot nachos, pizza perogies, the Snickly Dog, pickle pizza, pickle flavour cotton candy, rice burgers, traditional Mexican street corn and watermelon candy floss, just to name a few.

It’s also the 90th anniversary of a PNE institution, Jimmy’s Lunch, which is as famous for the wafting smell of fried onions as for its delicious burgers.

Today, the stand is operated by Jimmy’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who know how to make a burger. In 1999, in a province-wide media poll to mark the turn of the millennia, British Columbians voted the smell of Jimmy’s fried onions one of the ten most iconic memories of the 20th century.

“The PNE has been our family tradition for generations,” says Jim Parsons, Jimmy’s lunch operator and grandson of the stand’s founder. “This stand has become a big part of British Columbians’ fair experience, we have regulars that come year after year to have one of our burgers and reflect on special family memories at the PNE.”

The Fair at the PNE runs from Aug. 17 to Sept. 2 and is closed Aug. 19 and 26. For a complete schedule of events and more information about fair food, visit pne.ca.




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