Food lovers and daredevils beware and prepare for some creative concoctions at this year's Canadian National Exhibition.

CBC News got an early preview of what will be on offer and got to sample some 20-plus dishes before the gates open on the 2016 version of the Ex on Friday.

But we brought back photos to give you a sneak peek at what's in store.

Warning: Bugs galore

We'll ease you in. We've all seen the sushi burrito, right? Old news. 

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(Martin Trainor/CBC)

But have you seen this? 

It's a hormone-free beef dog in a bun, some shredded veggies, and topped with crispy mustard crickets.

If you can't see them, take a closer look.

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(Martin Trainor/CBC)

You'll be glad to know there are some drinks you can have on the side. Chase the crickets with a beetle juice smoothie. Ingredients include mango, buttermilk, cinnamon, and mealworm powder.

"Who's gonna eat bugs with me?" an enthusiastic taste-tester shouted at the preview.

Are you? 

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(Martin Trainor/CBC)

Meaty Sandwiches

Sean Sarrami from San Francesco's was dressed in a monk suit, elated to showcase this "sandwhe-e-e-ch."

"I bless our sandwiches one by one," he said, laughing. 

It's veal, crispy chicken, fried eggplant, oozing with mozzarella and provolone cheese, pesto mayo, some fries and, of course, a fried meatball to top it off. 

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(Martin Trainor/CBC)

​Let's see how that compares with this meaty sandwich. The Spam Double Down is its name.

Take some pork, ham, spicy mayo and Swiss cheese and slap two thick pieces of canned meat on it. And there's a piece of tomato somewhere in there.

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(Martin Trainor/CBC)

Steaklairs and dessert nachos

Ready for some dessert yet? 

Well here's Philthy Philly's Philly Steaklair — a chocolate eclair, with steak, bacon and provolone cheese.

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(Martin Trainor/CBC)

Or you can try this dessert from Nacho Libres. It contains bananas, strawberry filling, Nutella and icing sugar on top of corn chips.


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(Martin Trainor/CBC)

Your ice cream won't melt everywhere with this dessert.

Chimney Stax creates ice cream concoctions with crumbled oreos, brownies and gummies.   

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(Martin Trainor/CBC)

Or you can try one of these rich desserts.

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(Martin Trainor/CBC)

We think you need a closer look. 

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(Martin Trainor/CBC)


That's apparently how this vendor's neighbours reacted when he invited them over for a tasting party. Howie's is a third-generation family business, bringing Toronto its savoury cinnamon rolls.

A very Canadian treat

And of course, we can't end without something from Canada's sweetheart, Tim Hortons.

Parents, take note: these Jolly Rancher doughnuts may call for an early visit to the dentist. 

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(Martin Trainor/CBC)

So there you have it. We didn't even show you the fried pig ear sandwiches, bacon croissundaes and Sriracha caramel cones.