The Ekka. You either love it or hate it, but either way you need to give it mad props for giving you that once a year Wednesday sleep in. For those who enter the “love it!” side of the pavilion, it could be the wild rides (wild because you’re concerned for your safety), the joys of Sideshow Alley (GIMME THAT STUFFED MONKEY!), or the sugar rush from eating everything in that Bertie Beetle Show Bag in two mouthfuls.
While all that sounds fantastic (just, for the love of God, wash your hands), for us it’s always been about the fresh produce and of course, the strawberry ice-cream sundaes. And did you know there’s a whole pavilion devoted to cheese?
So pack your hand gel friends, we’re about to run you through the best of this year’s Ekka eats.
Lick! strawberry ice cream sundaes
With a balance of dairy and fruit, we’d say this Ekka classic definitely qualifies as a breakfast food. Perhaps the most iconic Ekka treat, each bite of your crunchy wafer cone, smooth vanilla ice cream, sweet strawberries, and swirls of fresh cream go towards funding research for the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation. So do your part for the community: eat for charity!
Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion
Two words: Free. Samples. Wander through the selection of treats, smoked meats, cupcakes, cheeses, baked goods and seafood for hours of delicious entertainment. Then go back and do it again later – they’re open 9am-7.30pm every day. Just make sure you hit the wine stalls too.
Questions of what exactly is in those sausages aside, is there any better smell than that of deep fried batter coated in tomato sauce? The aroma of fresh frankfurters dipped in homemade, preservative free batter will have the most patient of foodie hurling small children aside to be first in line. Don’t be a silly sausage and miss out!
Cheese on toothpicks and ice cream not enough to get you through the day? Head for the Gourmet Plaza, where you’ll find street eats from all over the globe to feast on. Yum cha, Italian meatballs, gourmet beef rolls and a few familiar faces from around town like Kwan Bros, the German Sausage Hut and Chiptease will all be there for when you need something heartier than showbag snacks.
Country Women’s Association
The Country Women’s Association proves that there’s something to be said for tradition. With sumptuous cakes, pastries and scones (they’re so FLUFFY) made with wholesome goodness, this stall has earned its high praise. This year they’re extending their hearty country hospitality and offering gourmet meat pies as part of the old school eatery under the John MacDonald Stand.
If you somehow pulled the short straw and ended up looking after 5 kids, worry not, the food highlights do not end there. With the food van phenomenon hitting the showground, a selection of goodies like doughnuts, potato slinkys, German sausages, American inspired pulled pork rolls and kebabs are perfect for gobbling on the run.
With so many edible options, planning your Ekka eating ahead of time really is a must this year. Grab a map, your warmest coat and the friend who never finishes a meal (you know, so you can eat their leftovers) and head to the RNA Showgrounds from the 7th to the 16th of August. Make sure you pick up a show bag to hide that food baby!
Words by Rebecca Grady