The Texas State Fair is a food adventure of a lifetime, mainly because you are at a high risk of food coma-ing and never waking up, but it's fine. Your arteries might hate you, but live and die happy, right?
Even though the Texas State Fair has been around for 130 years, the food contest only began 12 years ago. The State Fair has made headlines for its creative foods, but surprisingly, being fried isn't a requirement. Here are some unique dishes that I was able to try at the 2016 State Fair.
1. Crinkle-Cut Cookie Fries
I know the title says "Foods You Don't Want to Miss", but you can pass on this one. These cookie fries come in chocolate chip or sprinkles, and they're served with a side of strawberry or chocolate sauce. To be quite frank, these weren't worth the hype. They're not that great as far as cookies go, but it's a cute idea.
2. Injectable Great Balls of BBQ
Shredded beef brisket with BBQ sauce molded into balls, breaded with seasoned bread crumbs, deep fried, and then served atop coleslaw makes the perfect savory dish. Just in case you want your veins to basically bleed BBQ sauce, each order comes with a pipette to inject more sauce for max flavor.
3. Corny Cheese
Let's give a moment of silence to all those who are lactose intolerant (like me) because they'll probably still eat this. Surrounded by the sweet and salty flavor of corn bread, this fried mozzarella-on-a-stick will make you wonder why this wasn't in your life earlier.
4. Swirl Cake
Yas girl yaasss. It's only fried dough with an avalanche of powdered sugar and generous drizzle of chocolate sauce, but the funnel cake will always be an all-time favorite at the Texas State Fair.
5. Blackened Shrimp Baked Potato
Potatoes are a blessing to mankind, and this dish was no exception. It's a baked potato stuffed with seasoned and blackened shrimp, topped with a generous amount of cheese and a sprinkle of parsley, then drizzled with butter on top. #blessup
6. Fried Milk and Cookies
If it can be eaten, it can be fried. This is the iconic duo of the food world, on a stick. Bet Santa Claus wouldn't mind eating this on Christmas night.
7. Fried Cannoli Bites
An interesting twist on the classic Italian dessert — fried pastry with a warm cream-filled center, lightly dusted with powdered sugar and drizzled with white and dark chocolate.
8. Fernie's Down Home Chicken Pot Pie Pocket with Mac 'n Cheese Dip
Lemme tell you, this dish was an experience and absolutely worth the 30 minute wait – a must-try at the Texas State Fair. It's your traditional chicken pot pie filling of cream sauce, chicken breast, potatoes, carrots, peas, and corn ladled into a flaky pastry dough, folded hot pocket style, and then deep fried (of course). It's the perfect ratio of buttery crust to savory filling. A side of mac 'n cheese made up of orzo and sharp cheddar serves as a dip. The vegetables make it healthy, right?
9. Chicken Dumplings with Cajun Crisps
A sprinkling of cajun seasoning on an otherwise familiar Asian dish of fried chicken dumplings and shrimp chips. Yum.
10. Nachos Grande
They're nachos, and they're definitely grand(e). I promise there are tortilla chips buried somewhere underneath. Can't complain about not having enough toppings in this nacho dish for sure.
11. Bacon Cream Corn
Pretty disappointing actually. The name promises a creamy harmony of flavors between two classic Southern comfort foods — instead, it was more like bacon-flavored corn in a milky sauce with jalapeños. Which is fine, but not what I was expecting with a name like "bacon cream corn".
12. Deep Fried Pulled Pork "Funyun" Dings
A sweet and savory dish of a FUNYUN stuffed with pulled pork, pepper jack cheese, pineapple slices, and bacon, then dipped in batter, deep fried, and served with a sweet BBQ sauce. I don't understand how this works, but my taste buds could care less if it was made with magic.
13. Deep Fried Mac 'n Cheese
It's your class mac 'n cheese, fried edition. What's not to love about this?
Don't miss out — the State Fair runs from September 30 through October 23 at Fair Park. Now, go forth and be fry-ee!