Eat your way around Brisbane's Ekka

Dagwood dogs, strawberry sundaes, fairy floss – that’s all that used to be on offer at the Ekka, Queensland’s largest event running for the 136 time, this year from August 8 to 17.

But times have changed and so has the food. Yes, your old faves are still there but now there’s a patch and paddock to plate feel bringing city even closer to country

There’s a new food precinct where local chefs and food celebrities will highlight all things local. Chef Dominque Rizzo will host the Queensland Food and Wine Stage which will see a procession of great chefs sharing their secrets.  The Harvest and Hops Stage in the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion, focuses on all things beer, cider and food related with beer expert Matt Kirkegaard in charge.

Best food finds include a steak at the Royal Queensland Steakhouse, freshly shucked oysters at the Seafood and Wine Bar and the Queensland charcuterie platter at the Food and Wine Show Deli, both in the Woolworths Pavilion.

A visit to the Ekka would not be complete without a strawberry Sunday and 24,000 tonnes of strawberry and vanilla ice cream from Lick will make it all happen.

The prices of show bags have also changed. You’ll have to part with $25 for a Peppa Pig, Wiggles or Smurf bag. In fact $20 to $25 seems to be a common rate amongst the new show bags.

Five extra generators have been lined up to power this year’s show to give a ‘rock concert’ feel.  This 15 fireworks platforms,24 fire jets and six people with fireworks strapped to their bodies dancing synchronised to music.

There are some great online pre Ekka deals available which will save you money. Check them out at  I particularly like the bundles and add ons that include food, like the Foodies Cheese Indulgence or Seafood Indulgence bundles and the Oysters and Wine add on.  That one has my name written all over it.

Here are some of the characters I met at the launch -

See you at the Stockman’s Bar for a refreshing drink after you’ve had your fill of sideshow alley.  Enjoy!

Ekka – RNA Showgrounds, 600 Gregory Terrace, Bowen Hills, Brisbane

Bottom line: Queensland’s greatest show
Best tip: Wear comfortable shoes

Kerry Heaney

Disclaimer: Ed+bK was a guest at the Ekka 2013 launch.