Different ways to enjoy State Fair foods
Published 3:33 pm Thursday, October 12, 2023
It’s that time of year again.
Spooky season? Harvest season? Election campaigning season? Baseball playoff season?
Well, technically, those answers are all correct. But today, I’m talking about something else that happens every October: the North Carolina State Fair.
The annual event that celebrates the best of our state will be held again this year beginning Oct. 12 through Oct. 22 at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. I probably won’t get a chance to attend this year (as I’m usually working or too tired to make the trek to the state capital), but I always enjoy taking a peek at the strange foods offered for attendees, and live vicariously through the descriptions. Some look mouth-watering enticing, while others make me cringe just thinking about the combinations. And there are even a few where you might question the sanity of whoever came up with the idea!
So, as is my silly tradition, here are a couple of the new fair food offerings for 2023!
Firstly, we have what is perhaps the funniest name for a fair food I have ever seen: “Politician Fries” from the vendor, Chesters Gators & Taters. The dish itself is simple. It’s just French fries covered in cheese and fried bologna. (Readers can fill in any joke they wish to make about politicians full of bologna here.)
For adventurous meat-eaters, you can try the “Ostrich Smashburger” from Chick-N-Que. The description notes that the burger is, in fact, 100 percent NC-raised ostrich. If you’re a bit skeptical about that, I can vouch that there is at least one ostrich farm in North Carolina because I visited it once while I was a student at Elon University. Strange, huh?
Douglas Farms is offering “Candied Grapes” this year, which are “grapes covered with candy apply coating in original cherry, grape, or blue raspberry flavor.” Grape-flavored grapes? I think I’ll pass on this one!
The “Dill Pickle Donut” is one of the offerings from Fluffy’s Hand-Cut Donuts. As the name suggests, it’s a donut topped with dill pickle chips and whipped dill pickle cream cheese. If that isn’t enough for you, it’s also sprinkled with dill on top. The description calls it “dillicious” which I assume pickle-lovers will agree with.
If you have a rowdy night before attending the state fair, you might want to try “The Morning-After Stuffed Leg” from Hickory Tree Turkey BBQ. This food is simply a giant turkey leg stuffed with cheese, eggs, and potato tots. You can top it with your choice of lime crema, fruit jam, or smoked turkey breakfast gravy. I feel like the turkey meat might get lost under all the other ingredients here.
Here’s one I think I wouldn’t mind trying: “The Crazy Italian Savory Funnel Cake” from Iron Kitchen Holdings. It’s essentially a regular funnel cake, but topped with marinara sauce, cheeses, and pepperoni. Basically like a pizza but with a different dough.
Speaking of pizza, Kono Pizza has a “Cheese Pizza Cone” for the convenience of people walking around the fair. You don’t want to stop to chow down on a slice of pizza when there’s so much to see right? Well, luckily, the pizza cone is supposed to be easy to eat on the go. (Your results may vary!)
La Farm Bakery’s “Pulled Pork Mac & Cheese Danish,” however, sounds a little too exciting for my tastes. I’m a fan of pulled pork, mac & cheese, and a good breakfast Danish, but I’m not sure mixing them all together is the best idea.
Oak City Fish & Chips is offering “Brown Sugar Fried Corn” this year. Pretty self-explanatory. It’s simple enough that I might would be brave enough to try it. I do enjoy corn quite a bit, so why not try it as a sweet dessert too?
The same vendor is also offering a “Colossal Prawn Pop” which is basically a kebob featuring very large shrimp and a lemon on top. This isn’t that weird compared to the rest of the list, but I liked the name!
If you didn’t get enough corn or pizza from earlier items on this list, then you could try the “Street Corn Pizza” from Rudy’s Pizza. It’s pizza dough topped with a mayo-based sauce, cheese, roasted corn, seasonings, and cilantro. The dish is inspired by Mexican street corn, but it makes me giggle because corn is a popular pizza topping in Japan too. What strange connections food can make around the world!
Lastly, you can get “Pumpkin Spice Tea” from Tiki Tea. ‘Tis the season, right?
I will also add a few sweet honorable mentions from this year’s list because the names are almost as delectable as the treats: “Boozie Cupcakes,” “Bacon Mac & Cheese Sundae,” “Stuffed Mini Pancakes,” “Bacon Berry Cookie Dough on a Stick,” and “Butter Beer Caramel Apple.”
You can find a full list of the fair’s food offerings at ncstatefair.org
If you get a chance to attend the state fair this year, I hope you’re adventurous enough to enjoy at least one of the foods on this list! But even if you can’t make it, there are always plenty of other fairs closer to home throughout the year that can provide some sweet and savory treats for your taste buds too.
And you can even have fun experimenting at home with your own innovative food creations. Who knows? Maybe you’ll land a spot at the North Carolina State Fair one day too, and I’ll write about it in my column!
Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at email@example.com or 252-332-7206.