James Radke, midway operations manager at the Calgary Stampede, samples a deep fried giant squid that will be available at this year’s Stampede in Calgary, Tuesday, June 5, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

Cheesy chicken hearts, calf testicles coming to Calgary Stampede

This year’s Stampede runs 10 days from July 6 to 15

Traditional corn dogs and deep-fried doughnuts are still on the menu but Calgary Stampede organizers say they’re being joined by giant squid on a stick, cheesy chicken hearts and even prairie oysters for foodies attending the 10-day event.

Midway operations manager James Radke says the Stampede menu has to have something for everyone but it’s the craziest combinations that tend to spark the most interest.

“We look for those foods — crickets on your candy apple, crickets in your grilled-cheese sandwich. How can you take those traditional foods and turn them upside down and really make people think about what they’re eating?”

The so-called giant squidward, complete with tentacles, is about the size of a baseball mitt and deep fried.

The prairie oyster balls, which are calf testicles, are braised in a savoury sauce, sliced and served over sweet doughnuts with a blueberry sauce along with whipped cream and crushed nuts.

“We’re talking real prairie oysters,” Radke said. “We push people’s taste buds.

“Whether their reaction to it is positive or negative, that actually doesn’t matter. What matters is it’s generating an emotional response to food and you know you’ve got them right away.”

Yan Situ from the Happy Fish Catering food truck expects the squid will be a big seller.

“It looks a little scary but it tastes good though. It’s nice and juicy inside and then we put on our special bread crumbs so it’s really crunchy outside,” she said.

“It comes in two flavours — salt and pepper and curry pepper. That one’s a little bit spicy, gives a little more heat for the street.”

For those with a sweet tooth, there will be deep-fried, bacon-wrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Pop Rocks mini doughnuts, smoking charcoal ice cream in a cup, hot ice-cream doughnut sandwiches and Kit Kat fries.

Only eight or 10 years ago, Radke said, Stampede food was a secondary consideration.

“That’s changed with the advent of food television, of the Food Network, the foodie movement, restaurants changing and everybody really jumping upon that bandwagon. The midway has had to do that as well,” he said.

“The midway has had to transform itself to become a culinary destination.”

This year’s Stampede runs from July 6 to 15.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Global Sports Bra Squad day run returns to Prince Rupert

Sixteen women shed their shirts to encourage healthy body image on June 20

Rupert cyclists tune up to conquer cancer

Prince Rupert’s Ride to Conquer Cancer team held a bike maintenance station on June 23

Heart of Our City: Bringing back the culture

Through teaching children how to harvest cedar, Fanny Nelson passes on traditional knowledge

Moms of those killed by illicit opioids take to B.C. Legislature in call for action

Moms Stop the Harm, a nationwide network of families who have lost loved ones to overdoses rally

Grand opening for Mariners Park playground

More than 100 people came to play and celebrate the playground’s upgrades on June 23

This Week Podcast — Episode 90

For National Indigenous Peoples Day, organizers of Prince Rupert festivities tell us what’s coming up

Man shot dead in Surrey ID’d as hockey coach and father of two

Murder of Paul Bennett – a respected Peace Arch Hospital worker and ‘champion of sport’ – ‘not random’

Serial killer Robert Pickton transferred to Quebec: victim’s family

Pickton was convicted in December 2007 of six counts of second degree murder

Canadian Syrian children’s choir not to attend festival over fears about U.S. travel

Many kids are recent immigrants from countries covered by Trump travel ban

B.C. teacher ends Jeopardy! winning streak, taking home US$69,000

Ali Hasan, from New Westminster, has been gaining fans as a “one-man invasion,” says Alex Trebek

Jett Woo highlights 5 Canucks choices on Day 2 of NHL entry draft

WHL star out of Moose Jaw tabbed in Round 2

In a matter of hours, women in Saudi Arabia will be allowed to drive

Change was announced as a royal decree in 2017 by Crown Prince Mohammen bin Salman

Feds announce measures to protect endangered whale species

Canada’s Whale Initiative is part of the federal government’s $1.5 billion Ocean Protection Plan

Most Read