Lucky for us, the confines of culinary decency do not extend to the North Carolina State Fair. This is not food the way mom used to make it. This is a world of fry and smoke and bacon coated with breakfast cereal.
On Friday, state fair organizers unveiled the list of new foods added to this year’s smorgasbord — 20 new culinary creations making their debut.
The fair is Oct. 11-21 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.
This year’s menu is downright fiendish, pushing the spectrum of sweet and savory into the realm of the unholy, but potentially delicious. There are hot-sauce glazed Krispy Kreme doughnuts; bacon dipped in nacho cheese and rolled in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos; and a variety of hushpuppies, from chocolate chip to country ham and cheddar cheese.
Two of North Carolina’s most beloved foodstuffs, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Texas Pete hot sauce, will join in sweet and spicy matrimony at this year’s fair, courtesy of S2 Concessions.
The shrimp and grits egg rolls from Woody’s Sports Tavern & Grill are the leading contender for stroke of genius. Farmed North Carolina shrimp and cheddar cheese grits with tasso ham will be rolled up in wonton wrappers and deep fried. The egg rolls are then topped with a red pepper remoulade. Apparently egg rolls are Woody’s preferred culinary medium, with this year’s shrimp and grits following last year’s Thanksgiving feast version.
Other debuts include Crack-n-cheese, which is turkey barbecue-spiked mac and cheese served in a waffle cone from Hickory Tree BBQ; and an arepa burger from Arepa Loca, last year’s media favorite, stuffing traditional burger fixings inside a griddled masa cake.
There’s a hushpuppy theme to this year’s new fair foods. Chick-N-Que will serve hushpuppies made of chopped chicken barbecue and cheddar hushpuppy mix. Vendor Ragin’ Cajun will serve a country ham and cheddar cheese version with whipped molasses butter for dipping, and a sweet chocolate chip hushpuppy covered in powdered sugar and chocolate “gravy.”
Rolled ice cream is new this year, carrying a dessert trend into the fair. The new desserts are perhaps where things get their boldest, including bacon-on-a-stick from Bubba’s Bacon dipped in frosting and rolled in fruity pebbles. There’s also a Cinnamon Toast Crunch apple cobbler bite from Chef’s D’Lites, where slices of green apples are coated in a batter made from the cereal, then deep fried.
The food vendors are typically among the biggest attractions for state fair-goers. More than a million people visited the fair last year.
To view the full menu of new fair food offerings, visit ncstatefair.org.
The NC State Fair is Oct. 11-21 at the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. For tickets and information, go to ncstatefair.org.