4 tasty food trends in Edmonton and where to find them

By Sarah Sussman

With so many new restaurants opening up across the city, Edmonton is establishing itself as one of Canada’s go-to foodie destinations. From Korean shaved ice “bingsu” to junky vegan comfort foods, here are four food trends that have popped up in Edmonton in 2017 and where you can find them. [Photo credit: iStock]

4 tasty food trends in Edmonton and where to find them

Bingsu

Korean shaved ice dessert – or “bingsu” – became the “it” food of Edmonton over the summer. The dish features shaved ice mixed with milk and toppings that range from traditional red beans or fruit to more adventurous offerings like Oreos or cheesecake.

Head to Snowy Dessert for Instagram-worthy bowls of ice piled high with colourful fruits and other toppings. One of the most popular options, the mango bingsu, comes with almost equal parts cubed mango and ice shavings. It’s a refreshingly light and tropical option that’s highly addictive.

For those who want to mix and match their flavours, Snow Bear Café offers customizable bingsu with options like blueberry, peach, green tea chocolate and more. For a few extra dollars you can order off the special menu with options like watermelon, honeydew melon and more.

If you’re looking for a side of nightlife with your bingsu, head to HANJAN. The cute little café transforms into a Korean bar at night with full kitchen menu and three decadent bingsu offerings: injeolmi, strawberry and mango. They’re open every day except Monday and stay open until at least 2 a.m. So if an overpowering bingsu craving strikes late at night, HANJAN has your back.

Plant-based junk food

Although plant-based eating has long been associated with lacklustre salads and limp veggies, vegan junk food is having a moment right now.

A Whyte Avenue vegan institution since 2011, Noorish is a combination yoga studio and restaurant with a food menu that ranges from healthy salads and Buddha bowls to much more indulgent vegan risottos, nachos, macaroni and cheese, poutine and more.

One of the newer additions to Edmonton, Die Pie has a 100 per cent plant-based menu of pizzas, pastas, pizzas topped with pastas and other junky treats. Die Pie is proof that you can have your cake (or in this case, your cheat foods) and eat it too. Try the macaroni and cheese topped pizza with caramelized onions, cashew mozzarella, king oyster bacon and arugula.

The brainchild of Red Seal chef Michelle Robinson, Good Stock offers a delicious menu with no meat, fish, dairy or eggs. Try the loaded taco bowl or dig in the top seller Cheeze Burger made with more than 20 different ingredients including chickpeas, walnuts, cashew-based mayonnaise and cheese sauce, all the fixings and more. If you still have room for dessert, the frozen mocha fudge cake is a must.

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Meat

Though it can often get overshadowed by the latest culinary “it” trend, good old-fashioned meat is making a major comeback in Edmonton.

For one of the best BBQ experiences in the city, head over to Meat to indulge in beef brisket, pulled pork, ribs and apple glazed smoked chicken, served with traditional fixings like macaroni and cheese, cornbread, coleslaw and baked beans. Your best bet is to go with a bunch of people, order a bunch of food and try a little bit of everything. You may fall into a meat coma, but it'll be worth it.

A lesser-known hidden gem in the industrial area, Fired Up BBQ specializes in southern style barbecue pulled pork, pork ribs, chicken and beef brisket served with every kind of BBQ side imaginable. If you’re dining solo, order a standard BBQ plate with your choice of any three sides. If you’re dining with a group (or just want to sustain yourself on BBQ for a few days) grab one of the four-person family style meals to go.

And for those who want a meaty experience exclusive to Edmonton, The Local Omnivore smokes and cures its own meats in-house and sources locally as much as possible. The meat selection is slightly overwhelming, so order a butcher’s board and try out a little bit of everything. And if you don’t want to indulge too much, there are plenty of menu options for herbivores too.

Small plates and share plates

One of the biggest problems about dining out is when you want to try everything on the menu but have to settle for ordering just one big plate. Thankfully, restaurants have started pushing small plates that allow diners to try more off the menu.

A tried and true staple, Three Boars Eatery is the mecca for small plate dining in Edmonton. Located just south of the High Level Bridge, the eatery has a constantly rotating menu that changes based on what’s in season. There are a few staples that (thankfully) are always on the menu, like the mushrooms and toast, pork and chicken liver bomb and the Quebec oka cheese tart. Make a reservation because this place is always packed.

A popular Whyte Avenue destination for Japanese cuisine, Dorinku has a modern Izakaya menu with experimental dishes like cauliflower karaage (essentially deep fried cauliflower), poke wonton nachos and the scalding bloody hells chicken with homemade “super hot sauce.”

For a more traditional option, Sabor is a downtown Spanish-Portugese tapas restaurant with seafood-centric share plates like grilled sardine fillets with salsa verde, salt cod fritters and garlic prawns. If you’re feeling particularly daring, throw caution to the wind and ask Chef Lino to prepare you a family-style feast. He’ll throw together a surprise three-course meal based on whatever seasonal ingredients he has on hand.

Whether you opt for a vegan cashew-cheese laden burger or a massive spread of modern Izakaya tapas, get a little adventurous with your palate this season and try some of the most exciting Edmonton food trends.

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