The third and final day of the Edmonton Heritage Festival had the best weather of the entire weekend. It was hot, sunny, and free of freak thunderstorms. And, most surprisingly, although there were some mosquitoes out, they didn’t seem to be biting. So all in all, it made for a wonderful day! And it showed, as the crowds were out in full force:
Mark and I started off our feeding frenzy at the Vietnam pavilion to grab a Vietnamese sub. We haven’t gone to Vietnam yet, but it’s high on my list. For now, this was as close as we could get. The sub had a generous helping of cilantro, which is one of those divisive, love-it-or-hate-it additions, but we both really like it:
One phenomenon that I always find fascinating at the heritage festival is the line-up at the Romania pavilion every year. What are people lining up for by the hundreds, you may ask yourself? It’s the scovergi, also known as elephant ears. This love of a dinner-plate-sized serving of fried dough covered in icing sugar, in a sea of much more exotic and unusual flavours, never ceases to amaze me. Yet the crowds don’t lie.
But, the Romanian pavilion isn’t the only one that offers a fried-dough-with-icing-sugar treat. We stopped at the Cambodian pavilion and ordered the puff cakes for 5 tickets, which are similar in nature to elephant ears. Plus, the line wasn’t nearly as long.
I soon discovered, however, that wearing black capris while carrying around a plate with a heaping mountain of powdered sugar on a breezy day was an error in judgement on my part. Hubby tried to repress his laughter as I got dusted time and again with icing sugar sprinkles as we ate. But it was delicious and worth it.
We headed back towards the Scandinavian pavilion, where I ordered my second helping of riskrem of the long weekend, and Mark ordered the herring with egg butter and dill on rye bread. He’s much more adventurous with food than I am, but I took a tiny bite just to be able to say I tried it. Initially I got the flavours of the dill, egg and toast, which were alright together. But once the pickled herring flavour kicked in, I had a bit of a hard time with it. It’s not something I would ever crave, or even develop a taste for, I don’t think. Glad I tried it though! But I’ll stick with the riskrem.
I needed something to wash the herring out of my mouth, so we wandered back over to the Peruvian pavilion, where they had a purple corn punch drink called chicha morada that I had never tried before. There was a line-up for it, but the line moved quickly, so I figured it was worth giving it a try:
It was better than I expected, actually. Corn doesn’t have a lot of flavour so I thought it would just taste like sugar water, but it reminded me a bit of a fruit punch. The description said it also contained pineapple, cinnamon and lime, which would explain the additional flavours. I’d get it again on a hot day!
Next up was pakora from Bangladesh. This is one of our favourite savoury treats! Spiced cabbage and onions, battered and deep fried. Sooo good.
The incredible scents from other pavilions, such as the chicken kebabs at the Sudan pavilion, kept tempting us to eat even more.
Alas, we know our limit. We decided to admit defeat even though we had only sampled food from 15 of the 67 pavilions over the three days. But we also went back more than once to a few tents. The Japan, Cambodia, and Scandinavia tents were just a few favourites.
We had two great disappointments with this years’ heritage festival, though. One, was that the England pavilion was missing again. They had attended for several years, and always had such a lovely display. They would even set up an English garden with tables and chairs to sit at while you ate. We missed getting scones with cream and jam, and a can of dandelion and burdock root pop to wash them down with.
But the biggest thing we missed getting this year? Croquettes and frites with fry sauce from the Netherlands pavilion. This year they really scaled down their menu, and only had poffertjes, the little puffed pancakes dusted with powdered sugar. We hope they bring the frites back next year. But even if they don’t, the Heritage Festival is still one of our favourite summer festivals in Edmonton!