Ekka food has evolved over the years from the classic carnival fare to include a selection of gourmet foodie experiences. With this in mind, we recommend that you dress in your best stretchy pants and have at it for a nostalgic day at Ekka treating the kids to your old faves while you indulge in the many paddock to plate options. So, are you a Dagwood Dog Diehard, a Strawberry Sundae Stalwart or a Fine Food Fanatic? Perhaps you just love a bargain bite?
Disclaimer: This article is not yet updated with the latest Ekka information for 2024. When it is, we will let you know! (Especially if you sign up to our emails!) 😉
In this post we’re going to tell you where to find FREE samples, $3 cheese toasties and $2.50 mini hotdogs! Plus, we’ll give you the low down on Ekka’s hidden foodie scene. We’re talking about award winning steaks, wine, cheese and more. Sweet Vs. Salty. The Ekka has it all! Read on for all the details on Ekka food.
1. Dagwood Dogs
You can’t claim to have experienced Ekka food until you’ve indulged in this show classic. We always grab a Dagwood Dog from one of the many pop-up food stalls around the Ekka. If you’re a hot dog fan you are going to love its cousin the Dagwood Dog. Afterall, EVEYTHING is better on a stick! This tasty treat is essentially a battered sausage on a stick that comes dripping in delicious tomato sauce. We love that you can easily wrangle a Dagwood Dog in one hand freeing up your other hand to cart showbags around Ekka. Plus, it’s the ultimate fast food. We’ve seen our kids devour one of these in minutes so keep it in mind for when you’re running between performances or rides.
Did you know 180,000 Dagwood Dogs are eaten at Ekka each year? You can even enter the Ekka’s Keppel Dagwood Dog Eating Competition. Last years winner smashed 20 Dagwood Dogs in 5 minutes and 46 seconds to set a new record!
- Location: Pop-up food stalls around the Ekka
2. Strawberry Sundae
The smile says it all! There is NOTHING better than a strawberry sundae or strawberry ice cream as it is also known at the Ekka. It is an absolute rite of passage for all Queensland kids to sink their teeth into this delicious treat. Plus, it’s pretty much all strawberries so you can tick it off as a healthy snack too! On average, more than 153,000 sundaes are devoured each Ekka, using:
- 6.1 tonnes of fresh Queensland strawberries
- 720 litres of fresh cream
- 17,600 litres of ice cream
- The helping hands of 2,200 volunteers
By buying a strawberry sundae you’ll also be funding much needed medical research for the Prince Charles Hospital Foundation. Here’s everything you need to know about Ekka strawberry ice creams.
3. Country Women’s Association’ scones with jam and cream
It’s no secret that the Country Women’s Association (CWA) know their scones but what you might not know is that Ekka is one of the best places to get your hands on them! We always make a bee line for the tearoom under the John MacDonald Stand to get our traditional Ekka food fix.
- Location: John MacDonald Stand
4. Fairy Floss
Image credit: The Brisbane Times
When it comes to Fairy Floss we believe BIGGER is definitely BETTER! Luckily the Ekka agrees. You can grab your Fairy Floss on a stick or in giant buckets from the many stalls located around the show. The combination of its delightful taste, light texture, and nostalgic charm make Fairy Floss a fun and enjoyable treat for the whole family to share. Plus, another one of Fairy Floss’s many virtues is that it’s typically gluten-free and doesn’t contain any animal-based ingredients. Win, win!
5. $3 Cheese Toasties
More than 32,000 cheese toasties are sold at Ekka each year using two tonnes of butter and four tonnes of cheese! We always head to the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion to get our hands on budget friendly eats like the $3 cheese toasties and new over the last couple of years – $3.00 mini hot-dogs.
While you’re at the Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion you’ve got to try the FREE samples! We’re a family of picky eaters with very different tastes and we find the FREE Ekka food samples from close to 70 food vendors is a really easy way to ensure everyone eats. Plus, it gives you the chance to expose your kids to new foods in a fun environment. A parents gotta do, what a parents gotta do right?! There’s plenty of options to explore including dairy free yoghurt, various cheeses, lollies, ice-cream and more.
- Location: Woolworths Fresh Food Pavilion
- Opening Hours: 9am to 7:30pm
Ekka food ‘foodie’ destinations
As our kids have grown, we’ve begun to explore the impressive farm to plate side of the Ekka food scene. While the kids head off to Sideshow Alley with their friends for a few hours we’ve found ourselves tucking into award winning steaks, delicious wines, cheese and more. Here’s our pick of where to indulge your inner foodie at Ekka:
Last time we visited the Ekka we lost our minds over a Slow Roasted Thousand Guineas Beef Roll from Charred. We’re talking melt in your mouth meat on a gourmet crusty roll with a side of thick and crispy chips. The photo doesn’t do it justice! Gourmet Plaza is filled to the brim with flavours from all over the globe including German, Greek, Italian, Asian and Mexican. There’s also plenty of beverages on offer to wash it all down with, from beer and wine at the James Squire Plaza Bar to tea and coffee.
We can always find a seat in this foodie precinct and we really enjoy stopping here for a break to enjoy the live music on the Multicultural Plaza Music Stage. Gourmet plaza is perfect for lunch or dinner.
Royal Queensland Steakhouse & Bar
Ekka food doesn’t get much tastier than the Royal Queensland Steakhouse & Bar. This fine dining restaurant (with a relaxed dress code and vibe) serves the nation’s best steak, lamb, wine and cheese, all in one exclusive location. We’re talking gold medal-winning beef, matched perfectly with award-winning wines and cheeses. The unique menu is sourced directly from the prestigious Royal Queensland Awards (RQA) and the 2023 Ekka competition winners. Make sure you book ahead for the Royal Queensland Steakhouse & Bar.
- Location: Channel Seven Pavilion (Foyer)
- Opening Hours: 12pm – 9pm
Woolworths Steak Bar
While bacon and egg burgers, fish and chips and your standard takeaway fare may *just* satisfy your hunger cravings, it is the juicy Rib Fillet Burger which has become an Ekka icon and not-to-be-missed foodie delight. Even better, you can eat your burger and feel good about it! All profits from the Woolworths Steak Bar will help the Children’s Hospital Foundation fund cutting-edge equipment, vital research and on the ground support for sick Queensland kids and their families.
- Location: Behind Machinery Hill, near the Stock Pavilion
Looking for more Ekka fun?
As the sun sets over Brisbane the EKKA excitement ramps up with a HUGE 1.5 hour EkkaNITES program sure to delight families. We’ve got the low down on Ekka fireworks!
Find out where to find the best parking spot in our EKKA parking wrap-up.
Be sure to check the Brisbane weather forecast before heading to the show for your Ekka food adventure!