The N.C. State Fair comes to town just once a year, drawing in over 1 million visitors from across the state. Although the fair features rides galore and a number of exhibitions and competitions, the real star of the event is the food. Ranging from classics like deep fried Oreos to oddities like the Krispy Kreme burger, fair food packs a high enough calorie and sugar count to satisfy any craving. Recess sampled a selection of foods from the fair.
A classic fair food, the warm, squishy dough was perfect for the chilly night. It’s best with a generous amount of powdered sugar — a benefit to taste buds but a detriment to black clothing. While there are more flavorful (and extreme) desserts at the fair, funnel cake is the perfect food to share with friends.
Jerk Pork Wrap with Mango Sauce
This delicacy took home the top media prize on the State Fair preview day, and it deserves all of the praise it has garnered. No, it’s not what typically comes to mind when you think of fair food. None of it is deep fried, and there’s even a vegetable or two inside. But it does feature warm, flavorful jerk pork that’s cooled down by the inclusion of the mango salsa. The state fair is about trying new things and this wrap is a must-try.
Sweet Roasted Corn
While roasted corn was a familiar fair food, all the signs for "sweet" corn were mysterious; how sweet could this vegetable be? After tasting some to find out, it was evidently just plain roasted corn, dipped, like all others, in a vat of straight butter. Flavorful and fresh, the corn seemed like a healthy(-ish, not really) fair food option. Plus, there's something primal about gnawing into an ear of corn with nearby livestock and horticulture shows.
A completely new food for one of the Recess editors, bloomin onions quickly became a new fair favorite. The dish was initially a bit off-putting; the onions at first look like huge hairy spiders, but are seriously addicting once eaten. With basically the same flavor as onion rings, the fried onion paired perfectly with the ranch-like dipping sauce. Also, an onion is a vegetable! Eating an onion and corn in one night is super healthy … just disregard the butter and the fried bits.
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Deep Fried Oreos
If any food could sum up the State Fair, it would be deep fried Oreos — they’re unexpectedly wonderful, and like the fair, the health effects will stay with you long after the night is over. It’s an unlikely match, but deep frying Milk’s Favorite Cookie and covering it with powdered sugar creates a sensational treat. It is perhaps one of the unhealthiest things you can get at the State Fair, but it is worth it.
Cheesecake on a Stick
This is a grossly underrated fair food. Aside from the fact that most things taste better on sticks (marshmallows, kebabs, etc.), the sweetness of the chocolate coating perfectly complements the richness of the cheesecake. The sprinkles give the dessert an amazing balance between creaminess and crunchiness that's hard to find anywhere else. Best of all, it's portable. At no other time can someone casually bring cheesecake with them to wait in lines, talk with friends or drive home.
The downside to the State Fair is the long lines and prices for food — it can take 20 minutes to get deep fried Oreos — and the food is notoriously overpriced. None of these stereotypes apply to the candy apple. It’s available for $2, there’s no line and it’s stationed conveniently near the exit to grab as you make a dash for your bus. Is it the highest quality? No, it’s a pretty standard apple covered in candy. But you do get exactly what you paid for.