Taste of Edmonton continues to draw the crowds every summer. More than 60 vendors offer their wares, affording event goers access to more than 120 food choices.
This year's top three choices represent a cross-section of the city's population.
The selected dishes come from a little-known Afghan restaurant, a popular fried chicken joint, and a restaurant led by an award-winning chef known for his adherence to sourcing local and seasonal ingredients.
Third spot: Northern Chicken
Item: Nashville Hot Chicken Drumstick
Cost: 4 tickets
Owners Matt Phillips and Andrew Cowan own one of the top-rated fried chicken joints in the city.
The menu is straightforward, with fried chicken, a few sandwiches and a handful of sides. They keep things simple, but do them well.
At Taste of Edmonton, the Nashville Hot Chicken Drumstick comes 'hot' or 'super hot' and is bathed in a house-made spicy sauce. If you have an asbestos-lined stomach, try the super hot; if you like heat but don't want your mascara to run, stay with the entry level.
It gives just enough kick while still allowing the flavours to peek through. The chicken is perfectly crispy and juicy, and comes with a piece of white bread to temper the flames if needed.
Second spot: Afghan Chopan Kebab
Cost: 3 tickets
There are no kebabs on offer as the name might suggest, and if that's what you desire, you can find various grilled meats on sticks at other booths. I suggest you stay right there, though.
This Afghan vendor offers something unique in their offering of bolani, a fried dough stuffed with spices and potatoes.
It's a good size and good value at three tickets, but it's the flavour that caused me and my two taste explorers to raise our eyebrows, nod our heads, and utter a unanimous "mmmm!"
The dough is soft but crispy in all the right places, surprisingly not greasy, and perfectly seasoned. The bolani is so good, you might want to order seconds.
First spot: Solstice Seasonal Cuisine
Item: Pig-tail with bacon bean ragout
Cost: 4 tickets
The name alone is worthy of securing first place. Adventurous eaters won't hesitate but those with more reserved tastes might need some convincing. It's worth the leap.
Bits of juicy pork are culled from nooks and crannies of the carcass, formed into a croquette, deep fried, topped with a chipotle aioli and placed on a bed of bean, bacon and corn ragout.
The offering is a mini version of the dish that occasionally appears on the restaurant's seasonal menu.
The crispy croquette hits all the right notes of flavour and texture. It also looks pretty on the colourful ragout, which makes this a very Instagram-able Taste of Edmonton selection.
Taste of Edmonton runs daily 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. until July 29.