By: Malena Esposito
Every fall season, the North Carolina State Fair comes to town, bringing in mouthwatering foods and electrifying rides for all ages. State Fair food has been known to get crazier with each passing year, outdoing the previous by combining unlike items and frying them together. This year, several new foods were introduced, all as outrageous as they sound.
The first meal was the Phoenician Fish and Chips, lightly fried spiced fish filet with fries, tossed into a sumac spice and Za’atar blend, served with herbed tahini and harissa sauce. This dish, as well as the Lamb Kafta Kabob, were found at the Neomonde Bakery near the State Fair Flyer ride. Close to the Scott Building, Chick-N-Que introduced two new entrees, the Fried Chicken & Waffle Kabob and the Slow Smoked Chicken. The Fried Chicken & Waffle Kabob was a twist on a southern delicacy, while the Slow Smoked Chicken was served in a pineapple bowl with onions, jasmine rice, peppers, and fresh pineapple. Located near the Graham Building and Dorton Arena, Baguettaboutit featured the Chicken Sausage Baguette, while Bubba’s Bacon carries the Man’s Sandwich. The Man’s Sandwich was a grilled cheese sandwich, wrapped in bacon, which can have been savored at Gate 11. The Ragin Cajun truck brought the Low Country Boil and the Lump Craft Meat Hushpuppies, stationed near Grandstand Concessions. The Low Country Boil consisted of shrimp, corn, potatoes, and “low country” style steamed sausage. Last of the cuisines was two new meals from Cool Runnings Jamaican Cuisine. Both the Jamaican Jerk Barbecue Wings and Jamaican Pork Wrap can be enjoyed near Gate 11.
Several desserts made their debut, ranging from ice cream flavors to churros. The Howling Cow, across from the rabbit barn, featured an exclusive N.C. State Fair ice cream flavor called Caramel Apple Crisp. This flavor is the perfect blend of apple ice cream with a cinnamon caramel twist, all topped with graham cracker bits. The John Deere Ice Cream Stand also carried a new ice cream flavor called, “The Elvis”. Found near the Heritage Circle, this flavor mixed homemade banana ice cream with real peanut butter. Miss Debbie’s Speciality Apples offered plenty of new flavors, such as Finding Dory, Triple Threat, Creme Brulee and Fudge Nut Brownie, which could all be enjoyed in the Commercial and Education Buildings. The last of the desserts were located in Kiddieland; Churros to Go! featured Corn Mozzarella Arepas, as well as chocolate, caramel, strawberry and cinnamon churros.
Last, but certainly not least, were the fried foods, the stars of the State Fair. This year, the Gobblin’ Gourmet brought in several dishes, such as the Salted Caramel Maple Bacon Funnel Cake, the Violet Vampire (a funnel cake with blueberry filling, topped with powdered sugar, whipped cream and white chocolate drizzle), and the Deep Fried Strawberry Cream Puffs. Available across from the Rabbit Barn, N&T Concessions introduced Shrimp Bites, herb seasoned deep fried fish. Located towards the end of the permanent lunch stands, Woody’s offered the Fried Bacon Pimento Cheeseburger Egg Roll, while Chef D’Lites carried the Deep Fried Cuban Roll near the Dorton Arena. The highly anticipated Deep Fried Jell-O could be found at the S2 Concessions in Kiddieland, as well as Fried Girl Scout Cookies.
This year, the “Best Dish” award went to the Fresh Crab Dip, found at Captain Neill’s Seafood near the Graham Building. Several of last years favorites were brought back as well, such as Fry Me to the Moon, Bacon S’mores and High on the Hog Sandwich. Available at Grandstand Concessions, Fry Me to the Moon was a chocolate Moon Pie filled with Ho Ho’s, Reese’s and Oreos, then deep fried and topped with cream cheese, chocolate syrup and powdered sugar. At Bubba’s Bacon, quarter-pound maple syrup grilled bacon on a stick was offered. The bacon was dipped into chocolate and marshmallow fluff, coated with graham cracker bits, which made it the perfect s’more for bacon lovers. The High on the Hog Sandwich was offered at Granny’s Country Kitchen. In the sandwich was fried pork chops with barbecue, pickles, cole slaw and secret sauce.
With no two meals alike, the State Fair brought a whole new series of incredibly unique dishes to the game, all ranging in satisfaction. The once-a-year event closed October 23rd, so if you missed it, be sure to check it out next year!