Prepare to get really hungry…
For 10 days out of the year, London’s Western Fair District becomes a tiny city of lights. While the sights and sounds of the Western Fair may provide a feast for the eyes and ears, all that walking around is bound to stir up an appetite.
That’s all well and good, but what happens if you’ve only got $24 in your pocket and you’re terrified of rides, hungry, and bored of corn-dogs and candyfloss?
Don’t worry, this anxious tour-guide’s got your back.
I ventured around the fair with notebook in hand and furrowed brow, seeking out delicious, cheap, and obscure fair-food for people who needs to pay them bills, or worse – student loans.
Poutine Croquettes $6.50
Croquettes are a big ball of warm comfort food from my childhood. It’s essentially mash-potato rolled into a ball then breaded and deep-fried. My Mum used to buy big frozen bags of them and serve them with some beans and a nice sausage or something.
What the guys at the Western Fair Market Food Stand did was turn my childhood upside down, combining the humble croquette with the Canadian classic. The result is a bite-size, handheld poutine. You certainly need fewer napkins with this wonder.
Big Barrel Root Beer $2 (Small)
Thirsty after that lovely croquette?
Not to worry – Big Barrel Root Beer is practically everywhere in the park. For only $2 you will get yourself a nice refreshing cup of the ol’ roots. Now, I am not going to pretend I’m a root-beer connoisseur, however the taste of the drink has a nice balance between anise and carbonation.
I tried to dig deep on the actual ingredients, but the guy at the stand said it’s a secret recipe. So, I asked him again to see if he breaks under my poor interrogation skills. Unfortunately, I failed you. Still, this is a far cry from grandma’s cough medicine.
Corn Bread $3
Talking about grandma – who makes lovely cups of tea – if she wasn’t British but rather was from the deep south of America, she would certainly make this wonder.
From the award winning Gator BBQ – famous for their mouth-watering ribs – comes a southern comfort freshly warm from the oven. The taste itself is a Charleston Waltz of savory and sweet.
It’s a must if you want to cleanse your pallet from all the deep-fried goodness of the fair.
Canadian Bacon Pickle Balls $5
If you throw one of these pickle balls in any direction at the fair, there is a 100 per cent chance you will hit a corn dog stand.
What happens if I told you that can have peameal bacon instead of the old-faithful hotdog? Better yet – peameal bacon wrapped around a slice of pickle, deep-fried in corn-dog batter and served on a stick.
This unique take on the fair classic will raise some eyebrows. It’s bold, it’s brave and it’s bacon-y. You’ll be talk of the fair… for 20 seconds.
Treat yourself, it’s heaven…and don’t forget the mustard and a handy napkin to catch the ball if you’re as messy as me!
Deep Fried Mars Bar $8
It’s not every day you bump into the infamous Scottish legend in London, Ontario. This little number is not the healthiest thing in the world, even though the Mars company itself issued an statement on how unhealthy this thing is.
This is the ultimate cheat day food, it’s naughty and cheeky and rare, and I’m not going to lie; you may hate yourself 15 minutes after eating this. However, this may be the first and only time you will eat this, so spoil yourself.
As your visit to the fair draws to a close, and you reflect on this article and realize that 80 per cent of the food is deep-fried and unhealthy – you may feel like writing to the LondonFuse office exclaiming that you want your money back.
Let me put my hand up and explain myself: The fair to me is a celebration of the end of summer, and the start of school (and to me another day of commuting to work.)
It’s permission to put that calorie counter down for the day and celebrate life with thrills, and hyperbolic indulgence that you won’t get from that bus-ride to work or school.
Feature photo by Andyy Scott