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Food & Drink

We asked these perfectly sane-looking Torontonians to explain their absurd CNE food choices

By Jennifer Cheng| Photography by Giordano Ciampini

Among the edibles at the annual culinary freak show that is the CNE: a hot dog loaded with fried crickets and mealworms, pulled pork cinnamon rolls and nachos that formed an unholy alliance with a banana split. Here, a look at the brave souls who got a kick out of feasting on the outlandish eats.

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Giordano Ciampini
Giordano Ciampini
Devina Indarto

24, student
What are you eating? A Spam Double Down from Miami Press: two pieces of spam, topped with ham, roasted pork, pineapple, Swiss cheese and ball park mustard. Why would you do this to yourself? “I saw this online and thought it looked the most interesting out of all the food at CNE this year. It’s quite good—very salty if you only bite into the meat, but the pineapple neutralizes it.”

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Andrew Lloyd-Kuzik

28, student
What are you eating? A ‘cartoon dog’ from Maggie’s topped with Captain Crunch cereal, peanut butter and jam. Why would you do this to yourself? “I thought it sounded crazy, possibly quite tasty and it reminded me of my childhood. I imagined something crazy, but it’s actually pretty hot-dog forward. It’s fun.”

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Michael Peticca

27, warehouse manager
What are you eating? A ‘bug dog’ with fried crickets and mealworms from Bug Bistro. Why would you do this to yourself? “I like trying stuff that’s featured at the CNE. My friends told me about this one. You tell me there’s something with extra protein? Sign me up. It actually tastes normal—just extra crispy and crunchy. There isn’t really a taste to it. It’s a different kind of protein.”

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Darcy Silva

41, butcher
What are you eating? A ‘6ix’ milkshake from Fran’s, made with Kit-Kat, Smarties, M&M’s, Nutella and Coffee Crisp, blended with vanilla ice-cream and topped with whipped cream, cotton candy and a chocolate wafer. Why would you do this to yourself? “I told my daughter I wanted a milkshake, so I thought she would get me something simple like a chocolate milkshake. This isn’t what I was expecting, but I don’t mind. It’s interesting and really good, with a lot of different flavours going on: creamy, very chocolatey and not overly sweet.”

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Julia Jones and Gabe Rudyk

22, sales associate; 22, sound engineer
What are you eating? Pulled pork cinnamon rolls from Howie’s. Why would you do this to yourselves? “I like to look up wacky food at CNE, and I happen to like both pork and cinnamon on its own. You would expect barbecue, but the meat is actually very, very sweet. This is everything a cinnamon bun should be. It’s light and fluffy, whereas most cinnamon buns are overloaded, so the taste is overpowering. This, on the other hand, is a match made in heaven—in Seth Rogen’s heaven, though.”

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Gail Hu

21, student
What are you eating? A churro cheeseburger from Epic Burgers & Waffles. Why would you do this to yourself? “It’s the CNE—you come for fried goodness. Unlike a hamburger, the churro is very hard, so I can’t squeeze it, but it’s really good. The meat has a very strong taste, which is a good thing. As I bite into the burger, the sweetness of the cinnamon is more pronounced, but it’s not overpowering. It’s honestly delicious, one of the CNE’s more successful creations. Not an everyday food, though.”

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