October 16, 2010

State fair fare? Try a deep-fried Honey Bun

Each year, vendors try to outdo each other by battering, deep-frying what they hope will be the 'it' food at fair.

After taking a bite of a Krispy Kreme bacon cheeseburger, Adrian Yirka, 28, of Raleigh, delivers his verdict on the latest sugary, greasy treat to be found at the N.C. State Fair.

"I like it," Yirka tells his co-workers. "I never would have thought that. It's sweet, salty, a good combination."

Another fairgoer won over by the latest can-you-believe-it food to hit the fairgrounds.

Each year, vendors try to outdo each other by battering, deep-frying or otherwise concocting what they hope will be the "it" food at the fair. Beyond the bacon cheeseburger served between two Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts, other contenders this year include a 1-pound hot dog, a 5-pound gummy bear, a deep-fried Honey Bun, deep-fried Chips Ahoy! cookies and dill pickles marinated in cherry Kool-Aid , otherwise known as "Koolickles."

For many fairgoers, food is the main attraction.

"I came here for one purpose - it's to eat," said Jesse Smith of Dunn, who was visiting the fair with his wife, Ava.

The Smiths already have a long list of things they must eat the fair: a ham biscuit, a funnel cake, a Polish or Italian sausage and N.C. State University ice cream.

For other food traditionalists, all the old favorites are back this year, served up in the same spots by the same churches and civic groups.

But those willing to be a little more daring can try a grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich - otherwise known as the Elvis special. It's another new treat at this year's fair.

John Pastor, 31, of Chapel Hill, was willing to try one.

"It tastes like peanut butter and jelly without the jelly and lots of peanut butter," he says. "What I didn't expect was the cinnamon and sugar."

Pastor came with Patty Melendez, 33, of Chapel Hill, to eat his way through the fair. "We bring $50 in small bills just for food," Pastor said.

While he liked the Elvis special, he's not so convinced about the Krispy Kreme burger.

"I don't know that I can go there," he said. "I like my doughnuts with milk and my burgers with soda."

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