Inspiration for this piece came when I read our article about the Testicle Festival in Texas and the ‘deep fried cereal’ at the San Diego County Fair. I’ve heard of dozens of state fairs that produce mind blowing dishes which are available for human consumption. This made me want to delve deeper.
I decided to search for the weirdest and wackiest in fair foods and I found many, but have limited this list to the top 10 — a list for the most adventurous of foodies. I am a fan of fried food and would gladly try any cookie or dessert option that had been deep fried, but what I have found is not for the faint at heart.
The cooks who have come up with these options are to be praised for their creative spin on the classics and their own out of this world creations!
10) Fried Bubblegum (Texas)
This puff of pink was introduced at the Texas State Fair in 2011 and won the prize for most creative food, but the name may deceive you because this treat is actually a bubblegum flavoured marshmallow that has been battered and fried. It is topped off with real chiclets gum, creamy icing and powdered sugar.
9) Kool— Aid pickles (North Carolina)
These pickles with the unnaturally red centers are made by adding Kool Aid to the pickling juices. The soft insides of the pickle end up the colour of the Kool Aid, while the skin can sometimes appear darker.
8) Deep fried White Castle burger (California)
This is the classic burger reborn and probably twice as fattening as before. The White Castle burger (made famous by the Harold and Kumar movies) is battered, deep fried and served like any other burger with a side of fries. This take on the classic hails from the California State Fair. (Above Right)
7) Deep Fried Pig Ears (Minnesota)
At the Minnesota State Fair they offer deep fried pig ears. They have been described, if done correctly, as crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside and very rich in flavor. They can be served with your favourite fair condiment.
6) Deep fried scorpions (Arizona)
In Arizona you can enjoy scorpions two ways, fried or fried and dipped in chocolate. Scorpions have been on the menus for adventurous travelers in China, but this is the first I have heard of them at a fair and dipped in chocolate. Below are scorpions fried on a stick and dipped in chocolate along with other invertebrates and some chilies (inset).
5) Deep Fried Alligator on a stick (Illinois)
At the Illinois State Fair you can try deep fried alligator on a stick. While sounding exotic this treat is said to taste like pork. It ends up looking like an oddly shaped corn dog and can be easily dipped in the sauce of your choosing.
4) “Tastes Like Chicken” (California)
The California State Fair was getting tired of the same old fair food so one ingenious stand owner decided to offer up foods that “taste like chicken.” These included grilled frogs legs and python. They are pictured here being grilled like kabobs.
3) Mealworm Covered Caramel Apples (Arizona)
Caramel apples are very popular at fairs everywhere, but the Arizona State Fair offers them covered in mealworms. This adds some extra crunch and protein to the classic sweet treat and it is fitting for the fair that offers chocolate covered scorpions. (Above Right)
2) The Testicle Festival (Texas)
The Rocky Mountain Oyster Festival offers up many interesting foods, but the topper is Rocky Mountain Oysters, aka calf fries (aka fried calf testes.) They come in different batters from flour to oats. The cornmeal battered calf fries are described as tasting like fried catfish. You can learn more about this festival here.
1) Deep Fried Butter on a Stick (Iowa), Fried Butter Balls (Texas)
Butter, the tabletop staple, has now entered the fair circuit. The on-a-stick version from the Iowa State Fair is dipped in a cinnamon batter, fried and topped with glaze. When you bite into it you will find the butter has melted and you are left largely with a buttery cinnamon shell. The Texas version is similar, but they use small portions rolled up into balls, and like the fried bubblegum it won Most Creative Fried Food. (For longer video coverage on Deep Fried Butter watch Eric Hansen’s full report here )
For more crazy food experiences in the USA keep your eyes peeled on our USA foodie event listing here. For other wacky food items check out these articles: