Sunday, 31 July 2011

Heritage Festival 2011 Edmonton AB - A taste of culture, food and more food!

Heritage Days 2011... a day most foodies in and around Edmonton wait all year round... as its a cultural feast for the senses, a foodie's Christmas in well, end of July if you want to be technical about it.  With over 50 tents representing cultures around the world, family entertainment, cultural performances, and a ridiculous amount of traditional fare to be sampled.. don't forget to drop off non-perishable food items for the food bank when you get there.  Its a strolling event, so make sure you wear a comfy pair of sandals or runners, slather on the sunscreen and either bike, bus in at many of the park and ride locations around town or walk in (there's no parking to make room for more tents).

So on the first day, under blue skies with barely a cloud in the sky, we go fill our tummies and soak in the cultural performances and the sun!  First up is the Croatia tent, with our eyes drawn to two suckling pigs roasting and rotating in a hypnotizing manner.. mmm.


To whet our palate, we grab a jugo naranjilla - an oddly green tinged drink that tasted like a a cousin to soursop from the Ecuador tent

and watched a Croatian cultural dance on the stage beside the food tent

We browsed and gawked like tourists at the Thai tent - they had Thai master carvers working on a variety of fruit and vegetables, transforming simple food into fantastical cravings and creations... if only my watermelon's could look like this.. but then they'd be too pretty to eat!

Next snack up - a Berneo banana fritter - a lightly battered deep fried banana.. who ever thought a mooshy warm banana with a crunchy coating could taste sooo good?
If you prefer your banana's cold, have a chocolate dipped banana at a nearby stall

At the Japan tent, we listen to some lovely ladies play on a traditional instrument similar to a Chinese harp
To balance out all the sweet, we snack on some Teque̱os Рfried dough stuffed with a ropey super salty cheese served with "pink sauce" which tasted like thousand island dressing. Salty, but tasty!
Next up was a spicy number from Berneo - the noodles, chock full of seafood, 1/2 a boiled egg and rice vermicelli noodles in a mild seafoody broth that left a simmering heat behind.
Following our noses, we dug into juicey and delicious grilled bratwursts at the German tent - complete with mustard and a crusty chewy bun of course! Chomp!
At the Chilean tent, we nosh on a Choripan, a spicy pork sausage bursting with flavor, and served with a quickly diced up salsa and crusty bun
Next stop, Peru tent for ceviche - white fleshed raw fish cooked with lemon and lime juices and seasoned with chilis.  Served on a bed of lettuce with some marinated shaved onions and veges.
Also at the Peru tent for the not so faint of heart, you can try some heart.. literally. Anticuchos are beef hearts marinated in vinegar, oil, cumin & served with baked potatoes.. they were surprisingly very tender - a bit like a slightly gamey marinated flank steak. Definitely worth a try.
We stop by the "authentic" Churro's stand for some super crispy freshly fried churros laced with icing sugar. Chocolate and a traditional filling is available to be injected into your churros for extra tickets.

With the sun burning down, we zeroed in on Persia's icecream at the Persian tent.  We initially thought it was a pistachios based icecream as it had no description other than its name, but it turned out to be a rosewater flavored icecream dotted with some nuts.
Still super warm, we drop 5 tickets for some frozen lemon ice at a rainbow colored icecream truck


When we promptly get distracted by a Tae Kon Do demonstration... with athletes jumping through flaming hoops.. literally.  Don't try this at home - these are professionals, with black belts.
After a digestion break, we had one of our favorites - bolani from the Afghanistan tent.. think potato green onion cake, served with a sauce similar to taziki.. nom!!
Stopping by the Laos tent, we nosh on a tasty green papaya salad that packed a kick of spiciness.. poooh!

Veering off to the Scandinavia tent, we pick up one of my favs - a silky rich and creamy rice pudding topped with raspberry coulis...
and something new this year - Sima, a super refreshing fizzy drink that tastes like a combination of white grape juice and non alcoholic beer... that little brown thing we thought was a nut, was a grape!
Our last stop was the Caribbean tent, where we stop and listen to an awesome performance before you cue up at a ridiculously long line for their infamous jerk chicken.
Alas, by the time we got to the front of the line, they ran out of jerk chicken, so we made do with a few items.. the first being a jerk pork which had plenty of spice to give the meat flavor, but the heat built up after a while, and we were all glad for the bland rice to cool our mouths off
The Jamacian beef patty was similar to a moist empanada - lots of seasoned minced beef and vegetables encased in a light crispy dough. Nom, a meal unto itself.
To cool off our burning mouths, we snagged a cup of their homemade ginger beer - super refreshing with an intense fresh gingerroot sting.. while delicious, burning mouth + super ginger beer = drinking liquid fire LOL!
We also grabbed a fizzy grapefruit based pop from the Caribbean tent - light, citrusy and refreshing!
We ran out of tummy room far before we managed to try all the foods we wanted to try.. (need to find the Curry in Hurry booth for awesome curry!) and missed some of the cultural expderiences and performances - still need to get a pretty Henna tatto at the Indian tent (and strangely enough, at the Hong Kong tent), and watch at traditional drumming at the Japan stage, Lion dance at the Chinese tent, contests to enter at various sponsor booths and so much more... but that's why there's 3 days of Heritage Days at Hawrelak Park... so make sure you swing on by for your fill of cultural dances, experiences and of course, the fooooood!  For more food fun and pics, have a peek at our jaunt through the park on Heritage Day #2 and Heritage Day #3  See you at Heritage Days!!! :D

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Among many other delicious-looking things, the Scandinavian rice pudding looks so good!! I had no idea they existed..so, thanks for posting! XD :-)

nomnomnom said...

You're welcome! Its one of my must haves at Heritage Days every year.. I've tried making it (once a few years back) cuz one of the ladies at the tent gave me her recipe, but its not the same.. can't beat homemade rice pudding. Wish they would sell it at a restaurant or in stores. Mmmm. Have to wait till next year!

Unknown said...

The Sima doesn't have a grape in it, it's a raisin! The Sima is done when the raisin rises to the top. I'd suggest the Piirakka next year, it's an egg pastry (my brother and I enjoy it).

nomnomnom said...

Thanks! it was a very well rehydrated raisin? ;) Tasty! and can't wait till the next Aug long weekend.. hopefully will get a chance to try the egg pastry you suggested :D

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