Festival Focus | Taste of Edmonton

Festival Focus | Taste of Edmonton

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I’m back home in Edmonton, and something this city does well is festivals. One of my favourite festivals (aside from The Edmonton International Fringe Festival of course) is a Taste of Edmonton.

What Is Taste of Edmonton?

Taste of Edmonton is a food festival here in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. At this festival, local restaurants put out small samples of two different dishes for people to try. It takes place for 10 days in the middle to end of July. This year it goes from July 18 to 29. Usually, Taste of Edmonton is downtown at Sir Winston Churchill Square. Due to construction this year the festival is at Capital Plaza (at 108 Street and 99 Avenue). It’s free to get into Taste of Edmonton, and they do have live entertainment. If you want to try some of the dishes though, you’ll need to buy tickets, which come in sheets of 5 ($9), 10 ($17), 20 ($34) or 40 ($67).

One of the free concerts had started up when we were at Taste of Edmonton.

Planning Your Visit

I’ve been to Taste of Edmonton several times, and the best way to tackle this event is to plan ahead. If you buy your tickets online, you can usually save a bit of money. You can only buy the 40 pack of tickets online. Eating 40 tickets worth of food is hard to do for one person. I recommend going to Taste of Edmonton with someone and splitting the cost of tickets. This is what a friend and I did. It’s more cost-effective this way. While the food is a sample size 20 tickets is usually enough for me to try several dishes, and not be hungry when I leave.

I recommend going online and checking the menu in advance. Food items are 2 to 4 tickets, and drinks are 2 to 5 tickets. Make a plan for what you want to try and how many tickets it’ll cost. That way you’ll know about how many tickets you’ll need to buy. Another reason to check online is that some vendors are only there on specific days. If there’s a dish you want to have make sure it’ll be there the day you plan to visit. If you have a dietary concern they list dishes with seafood and nuts. They also list dishes that are gluten-free and dishes that are vegetarian.

Arriving At Taste of Edmonton

Taste of Edmonton runs from 11 am to 11 pm, except the first and last day when it runs from 11 am to 8 pm. If you go in the middle of the afternoon on weekdays, it won’t be so busy. You can also try going in the evening after work, but you having some places run out of their dishes.

Parking around Taste of Edmonton is quite tricky (and even more so this year with it being at Capital Plaza. The best thing to do is to take the LRT (to Grandin Station) or the bus. You can check routes at ETS Trip Planner. An LRT ticket is $3.25 and is valid for 90 minutes.

Taste of Edmonton is at Capital Plaza this year, which is close to the Alberta Legislature.

Before you go check the weather because this is an outdoor event. If there is a severe thunderstorm Taste of Edmonton may close for safety reasons. This actually happened the other night. Wear comfortable shoes, slather on some sunscreen, and if it calls for rain bring an umbrella. I recommend bringing a bottle of water with you. It is possible to buy water there (for two tickets), but save your tickets for the food. You can use cash or credit card to buy tickets. There are ATMs at Taste of Edmonton, but they will charge a service fee.

Finally, if you want to try a few dishes be sure to bring an empty stomach. If you do end up with extra tickets, there is a place to donate them on site.

What I Tried

I started at Wildflower Grill with the adobo pork belly, which was served with rice and a soft egg (4 tickets). It was good, but not as spicy as I had expected. Next, I had the bolani (3 tickets), which is a deep-fried savoury pancake stuffed with potatoes and vegetables served with a mint yogurt dip. This was from Afghan Foods, and I don’t think I’ve ever had Afghani cuisine before, and I really liked this. I went to Won Jung Gak for a Korean seafood pancake (2 tickets). It was good and reminded me of a green onion cake or scallion pancake with some shrimp. It was served with a soy-based dipping sauce.

Bolani I had from Afghan Foods. It was delicious.

Although I planned to save this for the end, we passed by Wishbone Restaurant, and I used 2 tickets for some buttermilk beignets. Mmmm delicious fried dough with powdered sugar. Each year at Taste of Edmonton one of my must get items is a beef lemongrass skewer from Hoang Long (4 tickets). I had to stop at Irie Foods for a Jamaican beef patty with the perfect amount of spice (3 tickets). Finally, I got some yemisir kik wot (spicy lentils) with injera (a type of sour, sponge-like flatbread) from Langano Skies, an Ethiopian restaurant (3 tickets). It was spicy but very good. In total, I spent 20 tickets, which was about $30.

Crowds of people at Taste of Edmonton. Probably deciding what delicious food to have.

You might notice there wasn’t a lot of food photos in this post. Taste of Edmonton is quite busy, and it’s hard to take pictures of your food with people walking by you. There are some picnic tables to sit down at, but they get pretty busy. Also, the food was too good, and I couldn’t help but devour it.

My friends and I wandered around and listened to some of the free entertainment. All said our Taste of Edmonton foray was a success. If you happen to be visiting Edmonton in July take a look to see if Taste of Edmonton will be on while you’re here. It’s always worth checking out.

Things To Know
Taste of Edmonton takes place for ten days in July. Usually, the festival is held at Sir Winston Churchill Square, but in 2018 the festival was moved to the Alberta Legislature grounds due to construction. Information in this post was accurate as of the publication date and may have changed. Be sure to check the website to find out information about the current year’s Taste of Edmonton festival.
If you are visiting Edmonton and looking for a hotel you can book one here.

What food festivals have you attended?

9 thoughts on “Festival Focus | Taste of Edmonton”

  1. That’s a very interesting food festival especially for foodies like me. Since I am a vegetarian, I am excited to see that they do offer vegetarian dishes. I have never tasted Afghani food either. I would love to try bolani. Sounds really delicious.

  2. Food festivals are always fun. It is a great way to not only taste some great food but also to learn about a new cuisine. The Taste of Edmonton also has entertainment shows thrown in. It means a complete entertainment package and a nice way to spend an evening.

  3. Oh man, talk about a diet buster. That bolani looks really good. Then beef skewers and top it off with beignets for dessert. I love these type of food fairs or food markets. You get to sample so many things in one place. Too bad we don’t do that more where I live.

  4. I love a great food festival! You’ve provided some great tips on enjoying the Taste of Edmonton. I thought the bolani was an empanada – what a great way to try new foods!

  5. Wow, this food festival in Alberta must be fun and after this, I will end up gaining a few kilos. As all participating restaurants offer two samples to try out which is very great because some cuisines are very new to us and we cannot order them before tasting. I would surely go for this festival whenever I plan to visit Canada. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I love food festivals! We usually have in Dubai as well (Taste of Dubai) and just the vibe is so amazing, that food is not the only primary reason why people come. Taste of Edmonton looks quite similar, and your tips are really cool, about purchasing the tickets online beforehand and saving money and splitting the number of tickets between two people. 20 tickets seem to be enough for me as well, don’t think I am going to need more than that! Such a lovely experience isn’t it 🙂

  7. Just the word ‘Food festival’ is enough to pique my interest. Taste of Edmonton seems like a fest conducted on a big scale. Bolani looks yummy. I love to try out different cuisines while I travel. But owing to low appetite, I guess for me only 10 tickets will be enough.

  8. Now that is interesting. We’ve been a kinda similar food festival in London and it was so much fun!
    Thanks for the tips. esp on the size of the serving and how many samples would actually be filling.

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