Last weekend, a couple of friends and I ventured out of Durham and into Wolfpack Nation to attend the NC State fair. Being an L.A. native, the fair was definitely a culture shock for me. There was an arena for pig races, where the stands were completely filled with fans cheering for contestants literally “bringing home the bacon”. But for me even stranger than that was seeing a large display saying that you could meet “Tiny Tina,” the world’s smallest woman at 29 inches, for only 50 cents (Don’t worry, I didn’t actually pay to do this).
And then of course there were the carnival games and rides. Being the competitive person that I am I was determined to win some sort of prize. And I ended up winning three gold fish–Sashimi, Sushi and Tempura–and they are now happily swimming in my dorm room. [Yes, friends have told me that their names are a little bit messed up, but I am sticking with them. Also shoutout to the Bella Union worker who gave me an empty candy bin to use as a tank. You are a godsend.]
But if there is one thing that I learned from going to the North Carolina State fair, it is that you should never go here if you are on a diet. The NC fair is a fried food Mecca. Everywhere you turn there are food stands showcasing everything from fried candy bars to fried pizza. Rule of thumb: if you can fry it, you can find it here. And I definitely took advantage of that (probably gaining a couple of pounds during the process).
So here is a ranking of some of the best (and strangest) foods to eat at the State Fair this year.
Fried Mac & Cheese: 2/10
This actually sounded pretty good when I ordered it, but it did not live up to my expectations. It just had an odd, unappetizing flavor. Overall just kind of gross.
Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheeseburger: 6/10
Yes. You read that right. They literally put a burger patty in between two Krispy Kreme donuts and slapped cheese and bacon into it. I have a lot of mixed opinions on this one. Being a big foodie, I loved the idea of combining the sweet of glazed donut with the savory of the burger. But it was poorly executed. The cheese was cold. And the burger seemed more like mystery meat to me. The concept was great and it honestly could have been one of the best burgers that I have ever eaten if they had just used fresher ingredients.
Red Velvet Funnel Cake: 7/10
A nice twist on a fair classic. You can’t really go wrong with getting a funnel cake at a fair.
Mozzarella Sticks: 8/10
I never thought that I would say this, but these were some of the best Mozzarella sticks that I have ever had. The Mozzarella was perfectly cheesy and gooey, with a nice bread crumb coating. Fairs know how to do their fried food, and their Mozzarella sticks were no exception.
Candy Apple: 8.5/10
Once you get past the teeth breaking first bite, you are in for a treat. This was actually the first time I ever ate a candy apple (usually more of a caramel apple person myself) and I really enjoyed the sweet sugar coating and sour green apple combo. Plus it’s a fruit (with just a little added artificial sugar and coloring?), so I felt relatively healthy eating this. And don’t they say an apple a day keeps the doctor away?
Corn on the Cob: 9/10
So I decided to get the corn on cob, as I thought it would be a healthy option. I mean it’s corn. That’s a vegetable right? That was until I saw them dunk the entire cob into a bucket of melted butter. Oh well… at least I tried to be healthy.
Fried Oreos: 9.5/10
This is a classic. And if you don’t get them at the fair you are missing out. Enough said.
Fried Stick of Butter: ?/10
I saw this and thought it sounded like a heart attack waiting to happen. The whole idea of frying a stick of butter was a bit too much for me, considering the fact that my cholesterol level was already nearing an ultimate high from all the fried food I was eating that day. So if any of you guys risked getting coronary heart disease to eat this bad boy, let me know whether you enjoyed it or not.