State Fair offers a wide variety of fried foods

2013-10-15_Texas_State_Fair_Shelby

Shelby Tauber

An employee at the Texas State Fair prepares a funnel cake for sale on Sunday evening.

Lee Henry

After spending a weekend at the State Fair, it is hard to disagree with the old mantra about the size of everything in Texas. Prize chickens as large as dogs, the world’s largest tower ride, even the lines for these events themselves speak to Texas’ size. But all these things pale in comparison to the large variety of fried food available. Sure, there are non-fried options, but who would pick ice cream over fried ice cream, or a margarita over a deep fried margarita? Actually, that last one was pretty rough. 

These are the Top 10 deep fried confections from this year’s Texas State Fair. 

The Fletcher’s Corny Dog

It’s been a mainstay at the Fair since the early 1940s, and the Fletchers claim to have been the inventors of this delicacy. While not as adventurous as other options, it is impossible to resist the Corny Dog’s siren’s call. The fact that they are served in the shadow of Big Tex alone makes them the ultimate fried food and a symbol of the Fair itself.

Fried spinach dip

What makes a delicious dip? Combine something gross and healthy (spinach) with something delicious and horrifyingly fatty (sour cream) and you have spinach dip. The fried spinach dip at the Fair demanded to be sampled. The portions were a little disappointing — which proved to be a recurring theme in this adventure — but it is hard to argue with the savory taste.

Fried biscuit and gravy 

The only thing that’s more Texan than biscuits and gravy is deep fried biscuits and gravy. This was a brilliant combination, but putting the gravy inside the batter with the biscuit seemed like an odd choice. Why not ladle some of that hot awesomeness on top?

Fried chocolate covered strawberries and waffles on a stick

This was a hassle to order but a pleasure to eat. The fried chocolate covered strawberries and waffles on a stick looks like a dangerously long toothpick with three globs of golden goodness on it, each of which contains a strawberry and a square of waffle. The whole thing is also topped with powdered sugar and chocolate sauce.

Deep fried Frito Pie 

The long wait was worth these five or six perfectly battered pieces of chili and fritos. The lack of extra chili on top was strange, but the creators of this dish knew what they were doing. The chips still had crunch despite being sealed in with chili, but they were softened just enough to allow for a seamless eating experience. 

Fried Nutella 

Easily the biggest disappointment of the day, considering it was sold at the booth that was also serving deep-fried Cool Ranch Doritos pizza. The fried Nutella was some sort of puff pastry that was flash-fried and drizzled with not nearly enough Nutella to justify the price or the wait, both of which were abysmal. Two triangle shaped wedges of absurdly flaky pastry and a dab of chocolate-hazelnut somehow resulted in the biggest letdown of the fried food fare.

Deep fried Margarita 

Easily the most bizarre item of the adventure, the fried margarita consists of a pile of sugarless funnel cake pieces in a glass. They then add margarita mix and tequila, salt the rim and hand it over. This was all right but a plain margarita would have been better.

Fried chicken and waffle on a stick 

This is exactly what it sounds like. Just picture a corndog, but replace the dog with fried chicken and add a layer of waffle wonderment. The cup of syrup really made this the perfect combination of sweet and salty.

Fried shrimp and grits

The fried shrimp and grits were love at first sight. Two balls of cheese and an admittedly small amount of shrimp served with spicy jam made for what ended up being one of the best deep fried treats at the fair. This was also one of the more filling items available. In a sea of batter filled with who-knows-what, the shrimp and grits were the standout hit of the day.

Fried Thanksgiving dinner 

This dish won the most creative prize at the 2013 fair. The Fried Thanksgiving dinner essentially consists of two batter balls (yet again) filled with turkey and stuffing and served with sides of gravy and cranberry sauce. The taste of the stuffing left something to be desired, but everyone has their own extremely specific preferences when it comes to holiday food.