Every year the first weekend of August is host to my favourite Edmonton festival– Heritage Festival! I don’t remember going a lot as a kid, probably because we were always out at the family cabin on hot summer weekends, but I’ve been going every year for the past 5 or 6 years. I’ve learned that the very best way to experience Heritage Festival (in my humble opinion) is to go first thing on one of the days that the festival starts at 10:00 am. That way you are at the event before the crowds hit and before it gets too hot. Now, because apparently my head still isn’t functioning quite properly, this year I planned to go on Saturday, at noon. Silly, silly Robyn. First day of the festival, hot, humid weather…. yikes! I still had a good time, mind you, but I will be going back to my “early” mornings next year.
I met up with a few friends from work at Hawrelak Park at about noon. My friend Irene and I ended up splitting off from the group as we both had plans later that afternoon and wanted to get through the festival, pick out our food items and sit in the shade as quick as we could. She was an excellent Heritage Festival buddy. We split 30 tickets between the 2 of us and that worked out quite well.
Our first stop was at the Thai Pavilion. We each got the Pork Satay Skewer with Sticky Rice. Unfortunately this was not the best start to the festival. The lady working at the pavilion was super rude, all “hurry up and tell me what you want!” And although the pork satay was pretty good, the sticky rice was super dry and crunchy. It kind of seemed like maybe it had been made a couple of days ago.
After that we made our way around the park and our next stop was at the Netherlands pavilion. My people! My mom has always talked about oliebol which are dutch doughnuts and literally means “oil balls” mmm.. how could we say no? We decided to split 1 oliebol between the 2 of us, which was bad on one hand because they were really hot and hard to split, but good on the other because it turns out that oliebols have raisins in the them. Raisins in baking = no good in my books.
Next, we headed over to the Hungarian pavilion and tried a langos, which is another deep fried dough delight. It looked a lot like the Croatian donut, but was more doughy and less crispy. It was pretty good, but I think next year I will go back to the Croatian donut.
I had a serious noodle craving at that point, so our next stop was to get some Cambodian Fried Noodles. I drizzled some Sirachi hot sauce on top of the noodles and mixed it in to give the noodles a little extra heat. I thought they were really yummy and will probably make a point to get some again next year.
Our last stop was the the Japan pavilion as Irene had been eyeing the Okonomi-Yaki which is described as “Japanese pizza.” At this point we had enough tickets left for about 1 more item so we also got one order of the Kara age, which is deep fried chicken.
The Okonomi-Yaki was unfortunately only ok. Neither Irene or I were crazy about it. There seemed to be a lot of pickled ginger in it and it was a little over powering.
We both, however, really enjoyed the deep fried chicken. It wasn’t very greasy and it had a nice mix of spices on it.
Overall it was a really nice time, good food and good company, but I think next year I would like to go back to my normal Heritage Festival routine.