Taste of PNE 2013

The Fair at the PNE is in full swing with its 65th year in operation and the crowds are eating up some of the hottest fair food trends in North America. Eating in Vancouver was invited to check out some of the most talked about foods at the fair and we were joined by some of the city’s other best and most read blogs for what would be a fun day at the fair. All of the vendors featured, except the final one, are experiencing their 1st year at the PNE and the offerings they have created haven’t been seen at the fair before.

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We started at Cheese Please grilled cheese sandwiches in the kids section of the ride area. They served up creamy tomato soup as well as a jalapeno popper grilled cheese sandwich. The soup was nice and creamy without being overly rich and it would be perfect for a kid with a strong sweetness to it. The jalapeno popper grilled cheese was something you don’t see very often. It included cream cheese, battered and fried jalapenos, crushed tortilla chips and cheddar on your choice of bread.

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Next up we headed over to the Think Deep Fried Pies booth to sample their deep-fried fruit pies. The most popular pie so far this year is the Caramel Apple Pie but the Raspberry is coming in close second. They have a nice thin crust and are packed with filling. Ice cream is also available and strongly recommended with the pies being quite hot fresh out of the fryer.

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All the way from Dallas, Texas, Pickle Pete’s is serving up Deep Fried Pickles, Green Beans and Philly Cheese Steaks! Deep fried pickles are absolutely amazing and Pickle Pete’s does them right. But this was the first time for me having fried green beans and they have to rank up there with deep-fried avocados – AWESOME! The Philly Cheese Steak on the other hand wasn’t a success for me as it ended up being soggy and very heavy on the stomach.

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Just around the corner is Elephant Ear’s and Ice Cream stand with a design that can be seen from space. The crew here have created a deep-fried treat that is as big as my forearm, the Banana Bacon Ear. This creation is a whole banana that is combined with diced bacon, covered in elephant ear dough, deep-fried then drizzled in chocolate sauce and dusted with powdered sugar. I have to say that this is one of the most decadent foods at the fair and is enough for 2 or 3 people. Flavor wise, it’s similar to pancakes with bacon and banana with massive sweetness.

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The Gourmet Burgers booth is doing big business with their huge burgers, like the grilled cheese as buns “Vortex”, and sliders with meats like Camel, Kangaroo, Venison, Wild Boar and Alligator.  Getting people out of their comfort zone has been easy and evident with the brisk business they have been doing. I give Gourmet Burgers an A+ for effort.

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To end things off we stopped at a vendor that has been here for the whole 65 years of the Pacific National Exhibition, Ernie’s Ice Cream. Ernie’s has been a tradition for me for as long as I can remember – the sundaes and Coke floats are to die for!

This year at the fair has proven to be just as delicious as last year and is well worth a visit if you find yourself in Vancouver during its two week run that wraps up this Labor Day. The selections this year were pretty good and are sure to fulfill your deep fried desires!

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About Sean

Sean Neild is a published professional photographer with featured work in Food Network Canada’s Eat St cookbook and Chatelaine magazine. He is a born and raised Vancouverite, writer for Eat St. Vancouver’s site, and a contributor of Eating in Vancouver & the World. Visit Sean’s website and connect with him on Facebook, Twitter @YVRBCbro, and Instagram @YVRBCbro.

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