It’s that time of year again! Just like last year I (alongside my wife and a friend) went to the Calgary Stampede grounds, tried all the new food that interested us, and are sharing my thoughts.
Here is the full list of new food this year. I recommend using the website’s digital map and filtering by New Foods to navigate, as many new foods are only at one location among several otherwise-identical food stalls.
There is way too much for one person (or three) to reasonably try everything, but I did my best. Let it begin!
Korean Squid Ink Corn Dog
While this looks squid-like, this corn dog uses food coloring and careful cuts to make it look more squid-like, while keeping a corndog-like flavor. The coating was interesting, and the top half of the inside is mozzarella cheese which was delightful. Overall it was an enjoyable 7/10.
Cajun Fried Cheese Curd Poutine
This one was a bit disappointing, at 75% curly fries and 25% cheese curds, the proportions didn’t work well for us. Additionally, because the curds are themselves fried, they don’t melt onto the rest of the fries. This means that I was eating gravy-fries, and not poutine, for the majority of the meal. Still, the spices were good, and I wouldn’t recommend against it. 5/10
This was a huge surprise hit for us. The portion was quite large, with a ton of sauce. The spice level and sauce flavor was superb, the crunch of the samosas worked perfectly. This was our favorite dish of the whole visit, it felt like a sit-down restaurant dish, not a fair food. 9/10
Lemon Meringue Lychee Lemonade
My wife normally dislikes the tartness of lemonade, but this one was not tart whatsoever. It was quite sweet, the lychee was great, and the whipped cream went surprisingly well with it. 8/10
Mac N Cheese Soft Serve
We were excited to try this first, but it took us a while to find it. It…was a huge disappointment, tasting like plain vanilla ice cream. During one spoonful I could barely detect a hint of cheese flavor, but couldn’t repeat that, and my wife never tasted anything but vanilla. This was flat out not worth it in my opinion, but I still like plain ice cream so 3/10.
Pop Rocks Popcorn Chicken
This was, exactly as expected. Pop Rocks and chicken don’t go particularly well together, but it was entertaining to eat and the chicken itself was quite well done. 6/10
Deep Fried Strawberries
These were quite good. With chocolate sauce and powdered sugar on top, and cream cheese icing you can dip the strawberries into, the only problem with this dish was the quantity. Evenfor Stampede this felt a bit expensive. 7/10
This dish isn’t physically advertised at the stall, but when I asked they confirmed they could provide it. The rice is cooked in sweetened milk, and so the whole dish reminds me a bit of rice pudding. The Oreo crumbs and caramel sauce on top made it even better. 8/10
Cotton Candy Lemonade
This was simple, sweet, and tasted slightly of cotton candy but mostly of lemonade. Not really notable to me. 5/10
This was fantastic, a meal with each Bao seeming substantially different from one another and all quite good. It is a bit pricey at first glance, but not for what you get for it. 9/10
There are some really good interesting new food available at the Stampede this year. I might go again to see what more I can try (if it gets cooler before Stampede is over).