EVENT | HERITAGE FESTIVAL | EDMONTON


2015 marks the 40th anniversary of Heritage Festival, a 3-day annual celebration of multiculturalism in Edmonton's William Hawrelak Park. In total, 62 pavilions were set up throughout the park, representing over 85 different cultures. There are performances, artwork, crafts, souvenirs, and most importantly, FOOD!

We purchased our tickets a day ahead of our outing at Save on Foods. Unfortunately, there are no discounts if you buy them in advance but at least you avoid the line-ups. Or at least one of the many line-ups you will encounter throughout the day... 


This year, I went along with my SC and my sister, LT. We walked through the entire park, getting sunburnt in the process (I actually look like a cherry tomato), but we all had a game plan on which pavillions we wanted to hit up.



Here we go around the world in a little over 3 hours! 

BBQ Pork (7 tickets) from the Phillipines
This was majorly disappointing. Perhaps watching itsJudysLife everyday for 3 years hyped up Filipino BBQ, but I'm pretty sure they just marinated the pork in Bullseye BBQ sauce... because that is definitely what it tasted like. Also 7 tickets seemed a bit much for just one plain meat skewer. 

Lumpia (7 tickets) from the Phillipines
No different than Vietnamese spring rolls. Not sure what I was expecting to be honest. The strawberry was a nice touch? 

Melon drink (4 tickets) by the Phillipines
SC got this and I was able to try a sip of it. It tasted exactly like cantaloupe, not too sweet, and it had tons of shredded cantaloupe swirling around.

Chicken satay (5 tickets) from Indonesia
Another SC pick. Grilled chicken on a skewer with a choice of peanut sauce or sweet soy sauce. There were also some pickled vegetables on the side, which looked like carrots, onions, and cucumber.

Bulgogi taco (6 tickets) from Korea
Another one of SC's picks. We were both disappointed that the taco was a hard shell taco; I think it could definitely be improved if they used a soft tortilla and maybe added some kimchi on top. Also when SC first came back from the line, I laughed, thinking that they seriously skimped on the bulgogi, but not to worry, there was more meat underneath the lettuce.

Cheese empanada (4 tickets) from Chile
A number of pavillions were selling cheese empanadas but Chile was one of them that sold them for cheaper. It came out piping hot and the cheese was melty and gooey. Not bad, although it made us reach our deep fried quotient for the day so we ended up skipping on churros and elephant ears. That, and also the long lines for both of those deterred us... I've learned that Edmontonians love nothing more than deep fried dough.

Arepa (8 tickets) from Venezuela
This was a corn flour meal disk stuffed with beef and cheese, and served with guasacaca sauce. The beef were small cubes of meat, and the cheese was very mild. I've never had anything like this before and I was expecting it to be almost like a sandwich, but it was constructed like a pizza pocket. I think I preferred it without the sauce, which had a very pronounced cilantro flavour.

Passionfruit smoothie (4 tickets) from Venezuela
SC's pick, which I had a sip of. Very sour, but not bad.

Takoyaki (3 tickets) from Japan
While SC and I were in line at Venezuela's booth, LT went over to Japan to pick up some takoyaki. I love takoyaki but this honestly looked a little pathetic. Taste-wise, they were okay, and they at least had a real chunk of octopus inside.

Shwarmatine (8 tickets) by Lebanon
For some reason, LT was most excited to get this dish... this was basically a donair poutine, with french fries on the bottom, topped with chicken shawarma, tomatoes, onions, and sour cream. If you know me well enough, I didn't touch this because of *shudder* the sour cream.

Siam chicken curry on rice (7 tickets) from Thailand
This had chicken sliced with coconut milk, curry sauce, red and green peppers, bamboo shoots, and spices. Didn't try any of this but it looked like a hefty portion. Lots of bamboo shoots on top.

Curry fish balls (3 tickets) from Hong Kong
A street market classic! The curry sauce looked radioactive since it was literally neon yellow. It wasn't spicy at all, this coming from a self-proclaimed wimp of spicy foods.

Chicken satay (8 tickets) from Malaysia/Singapore
Malaysian food is one of my favourites so I had to get something from here! Much better value than the Phillipines, though I wished there was more char on the skewers to give them more flavour.

Sambal ribs (4 tickets) from Malaysia
I think SC and I were expecting something totally different from the menu description... these were basically dry garlic ribs with some seasoning powder sprinkled over top. Quite spicy but not what we were expecting.

At this point, we were dying of thirst and our warm water bottles that we brought along just weren't cutting it.  

Mango shake (4 tickets) from Pakistan
This was really creamy as they blended it with ice cream. Nice and refreshing, but they could upgrade their blender. I was basically crunching on ice the entire drink.

Fiji punch (2 tickets) from Fiji
Nearing the end of the park, I think we were just searching for more drinks to spend our last few tickets on. LT picked up this Fiji punch which was described as a mix of tropical fruit juices and diced fruit. Tasted basically like fruit punch with a weird minty aftertaste. SC thought it tasted like bubble gum which it totally did after you get that in your mind.

Lefse (1 ticket) from Scandinavia
At some point, a kind lady came up to me and gave me a single ticket since she was leaving and didn't want it to go to waste (although you do have the option to donate leftover tickets to the food bank). Looking over the menu choices, we decided to get this Norwegian potato and flour crepe with butter, sugar, and cinnamon, since the Scandinavian tent was closeby. The thing was tiny, but what would you expect for 1 ticket? It tasted exactly like how it was described.


All in all, it was a beautiful sunny day to spend at Heritage Festival. This year, I also made a conscious effort to try new foods from different cultures which I guess is the whole purpose of the festival. I felt that maybe the food was more overpriced this year but where else can you visit so many countries in one day? It's much cheaper than a plane ticket that's for sure.

- CT

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About

CT is a 24-year-old Edmontonian who started blogging as an excuse for taking pictures of her food.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf