The weekend of September 22nd to September 24th marks the 9th annual Eat Real Festival, where over 70 food entrepreneurs and artisan food and beverage companies showcase their sustainable and delicious food. In short, the Eat Real Festival is a state fair, street-food festival, and block party turned into a celebration of good food—right along the waterfront of Oakland, CA. I visited every vendor and curated a list of the most impressive and outrageous creations.

7. Shrimp and Pork Hand-Wrapped Potstickers

Kaitlan Tseng

Made by Good to Eat Dumplings, these Taiwanese-style potstickers are packed with bold, fresh ingredients and pan-fried until delightfully crispy. Drizzle some house sauce (made of black vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic) and you’re good to go.

6. Loaded Parmesan Potato Spiral Chips

Ariel Yue

This is the potato chip version of loaded nachos, except with garlic parmesan sauce, bacon bits, pickled jalapeños, mayonnaise, and a generous sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese. Alamar spirals potatoes on site, then fries them until ultra crispy. Best part? No more greasy arms from reaching into a bag of potato chips!

5. Cherry Kush Beer

Kaitlan Tseng

I’m not a huge drinker, but I found my new favorite beer—Cherry Kush from Ale Industries. Ale Industries blends their hop-less Golden State of Mind (aka “California Tea Beer”) with organic cherry juice to create a sweet, fruity, and refreshing beverage. Would it be an Eat Real Festival without a beer shed?

4. Strawberry Ice Cream Taco

Kaitlan Tseng

Rocko’s Ice Cream Tacos nailed it with its strawberry ice cream taco. Waffle shells are pre-stuffed with rich ice cream, coated in a sauce of Italian chocolate and coconut oil, sprinkled with various toppings, and dipped in liquid nitrogen to combine all textures and flavors.

#SpoonTip: Ask for ice cream tacos to be cut, as they’re much easier to eat when they’re bite-sized pieces.

3. Cheesesteak Fries

Kaitlan Tseng

Clove and Hoof seasons piping hot fries with salt, tops it with two ounces of thinly sliced sirloin, a generous ladle of homemade beer cheese fondue, pickled jalapeños, and fresh scallions. It’s probably the most beautiful hot mess you’ll ever see.

2. Fried Chicken and Waffle Cupcake Tower

Kaitlan Tseng

This was outrageous in three ways: its appearance, steep price of $13, and most of all, almost-impossible method of consumption. A cupcake made of maple bacon bourbon waffle batter serves as a base for maple frosting, a generous tower of fried chicken, and maple cayenne drizzle. I was skeptical about this, but it turned out to be one of the wildest things I’ve eaten.

1. Mango Sticky Rice, Fried Chicken Waffle, and Elote Popsicles

Kaitlan Tseng

These three popsicles were easily the best things I had at Eat Real Festival 2017. Oh yes, Fat Face went above and beyond with its popsicle flavors.

My favorite is the mango sticky rice, which is vegan and consists of sticky rice blended with coconut milk until smooth, then swirled with fresh mango purée. Reminiscent of caramel popcorn, the fried chicken waffle has a maple base with caramelized white chocolate coating and fried chicken crumbs. The most daring flavor of them all, elote, is sweet corn ice cream coated with cotija cheese and chile.

With some of the craziest flavor and food combinations, the vendors at Eat Real Festival have earned their hype. Craving more from these food entrepreneurs? Keep up with their social media channels and support them by stopping by their pop-up shops. If you missed this year's event, look out for the 10th annual Eat Real Festival next September!