Vegans and healthy food lovers rejoice! There are options for us at the CNE!
Every year, there are more wacky foods and wild meals to eat at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. Generally, these are bizarre animal products and unhealthy, deep fried dishes. There’s a burger with ramen noodles substituting as the bun. There’s even a place called the Bug Bistro where every dish features crickets as the main delicacy. Uhmmm…I’ll pass! It’s easy to come to the conclusion that at an exhibition like this, vegetarian dishes aren’t an option. However, there are lots of vegan food options at the CNE appeasing those with dietary restrictions or for those simply seeking healthier meals. There’s even an entirely vegan food stand!
You can find most of these food stands in the food building itself. Let’s go to the Ex and eat vegan food!
VEGAN AND VEGETARIAN
Wild Child’s Kitchen
Wild Child’s Kitchen is the only place at the CNE to offer an entirely vegan menu. Many items are also gluten-free, and these are clearly marked. There’s an array of main dishes (including nachos, wraps, and tacos), salads, juices, and smoothies. You’ll also find two types of vegan gelato and an assortment of bite-sized desserts. I ordered a small helping of nachos and a ‘Revive’ smoothie. The nut meat was super tasty and was complemented by the vegan sour cream and guacamole. The smoothie was super refreshing – watermelon and mint go so wonderfully together. Wild Child’s Kitchen makes fruits and veggies taste awesome. This is my number one choice for where to dine at The Ex!
Kala’s Kitchen is an Indian food restaurant with all vegetarian and vegan options. You’ll have to ask which foods are vegan. As they have a vegan logo on their sign, I’m sure they are knowledgeable about which items contain ghee and cheese, and which ones don’t. If in doubt, I’m sure you could grab a few veggie samosas and pakoras here!
Mamma’s Pizza is the only pizza place at the CNE that advertises their vegan pizzas. They have them available by the slice or you can order an entire pizza. They use Daiya brand vegan cheese, which stretches and melts. Tip: If you want pizza, be sure to go there earlier in the day. When we inquired about the vegan pizza around 8:00pm, they were completely sold out. I guess it’s a good thing that the vegan pizza is so popular!
There are a lot of places in the Food Building serving falafel! Of course, you can never have too much of a good thing. They all had falafel offered in a pita or as a plate with other veggies and salads. Be sure to inquire about the sauces ahead of time. Most of them just use tahini as a dressing. Here are a few that I noticed:
(My apologies for taking a photo of this stand RIGHT as that man was taking a bite of his food!). Ghazale had the most vegetarian options, including a falafel wrap, falafel combo, falafel plate, roasted potatoes, taboule, a lentil salad, a beet salad, and veggie samosas.
Falafel Hut Village
Quick Pita Authentic Lebanese Cuisine
Unfortunately, this Pita Pit didn’t have the spicy black bean patty like their main store locations. However, there is a falafel pita and a hummus pita that are vegan.
TACOS AND BURRITOS
Taqueria Burrito Bar
If you’re going for a vegan burrito at Taqueria Burrito Bar, they’ll throw in some guacamole for no extra charge. You can fill your burrito up with beans, rice, and veggies, too!
The nature burger at Lick’s is right up there with some of the best veggie burgers I’ve ever eaten. I’d definitely try this one out if you haven’t already. Even meat lovers adore this veggie burger.
You’ll also find a veggie burger at Harvey’s, a popular Canadian fast food chain.
It’s spaghetti and tomato sauce – what’s not to love! And you can get a bowl of pasta for only 99 cents. Justin has eaten this pasta for years and it’s a great quick snack on the go if you’re craving carbs!
It’s a classic Canadian treat, and one of those unexpectedly vegan desserts. If you order the cinnamon sugar beavertail, ask for it without butter. It’s essentially fried dough with cinnamon sugar on top, and it’s delicious. Ever since I found out that you can order them vegan, I end up buying one every time. And even though Justin didn’t get one of his own, yet still ate half of mine, I’m totally cool with it. I don’t mind sharing!
Although they don’t have vegan ice cream to make the Chimney Stax sundae (maybe next year?), the main component is vegan. Just ask for one without the ice cream and let them know that you’re vegan, and you’ll get a tasty treat.
Tropic Love is outside near the Enercare building. You can drink a fresh fruit smoothie out of a hollowed out pineapple, watermelon, or coconut. Refreshing, tropical and delicious! Perfect on a hot, summer day.
After eating some food, we walked around for the rest of the afternoon and evening. We didn’t go on the Sky Ride this year, although usually we take it for a ride around sunset. It takes you through the air from one end of the festival to the other. There were lots of rides, games, and random street performers at one of the largest fairs of the summer.
There’s even a small sandy beach with Muskoka chairs and places for kids to build sand castles…in the middle of a Toronto parking lot.
In the Enercare building, there were so many things for sale with booths featuring products from all over the world. Although we weren’t there to do much shopping, it was very cool that some artistic works were displayed in the entrance. There were bears made out of moss, and huge sculptures made from sand.
Now, for anyone who knows me, you’ll know that I’m a little bit obsessed with playing the new Pokemon Go game. I was a little too old to get into Pokemon as a kid, but I’m all about this game now. I was really excited to see Pokemon toys hanging from the midway game stands. And I had to have one. So, Justin stepped up to the plate and promised that he’d win me a prize.
Except these carnival games….well, some of them are pretty difficult to win. Some of them seem nearly impossible.
We played a few games with limited success…until we got to the game where you sprayed water at a target, racing against everyone else. And Justin kept winning that game over and over again. As the Pokemon toys were the most coveted prizes of all, we had to win multiple times to work our way up to that prize level. Thankfully, it was only a dollar to play. We didn’t spend that much money. And at the end of the day…
…I was pretty happy to have this little Pikachu toy to call my very own.
We go to the CNE every year in Toronto, and we never starve. There are so many vegan options at the CNE, and I hope I’ve given you a few great suggestions to get you started. After all, you’ve gotta find some vegan food to eat before the huge Toronto Veg Food Fest on the second weekend of September!
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