Thursday, April 26, 2018
Events

New at state fair: bacon maple funnel cakes, ramen burgers

If you think the Ferris wheel or the giant Comet roller coaster will set your stomach on edge when the Florida State Fair opens Feb. 6, brace yourself for a bacon maple funnel cake or a hamburger bun made out of ramen noodles. Giant Amish doughnuts that were all the rage at Bonnaroo are coming, too.

The fair will once again return with food stands that deep fry things that have no business being deep fried, and attempt to make eating while standing up an adventure.

Once considered cutting edge, deep-fried Twinkies, Oreos and Pepsi-flavored funnel cakes are now standard. So each year the fair vendors have to concoct new ways to get our attention so we'll spend money. So hello deep-fried bubblegum (2012) and the pizza cone (2013).

One popular returning vendor is the Amish Baking Company from Sarasota whose dinner plate-sized Amish doughnuts drew raves at the Strawberry Festival last year. They even popped up at Bonnaroo, where the hipsters dubbed them "the Paul McCartney of Bonnafood" on Reddit. Like a Krispy Kreme on steroids, these babies are famous in Amish country, and the Pennsylvania-born owner, Nate Peachey, limits his business to festivals and fairs only.

Other new entries in the fair food lineup this year include:

Tornado Dog: It's a hot dog wrapped in spiral cut potatoes "and deep fried to perfection."

Bacon Maple Funnel Cake: A deep-fried bacon-infused funnel cake topped with powdered sugar, homemade maple butter cream icing and garnished with real bacon bits.

Cotton Candy Funnel Cake: Two iconic fair foods in one, this cotton candy-infused funnel cake is topped with pink or blue cotton candy-flavored icing.

The Ramen Noodle Burger: A burger nestled in a bun made of ramen noodles was a huge hit at fairs in New York and Los Angeles in 2013, second only to the "cronut" in foodie passion. The noodles are molded into a bun shape and fried crispy. The burger comes with Asian slaw and an Oriental sauce of mayo, ketchup, soy sauce, hoisin and sugar.

Healthier Burger: Now that's a word you rarely see in a fair food story, but this burger was born of requests from fair-goers, the creators at Carousel Foods say, so this soy burger is on a 100 percent whole wheat bagel thin topped with provolone cheese and a parmesan-crusted eggplant with veggie toppings.

3Bs Burger: The three Bs in this are burger, bacon and beef brisket topped with provolone cheese and placed on garlic toast — definitely not a "healthier" burger. It comes with homemade horseradish, A-1 or barbecue sauce to top it off.

If you think you can stand up to the zany fair food, they will once again hold a Taste of the Fair on Feb. 10 where you can try small samples at reduced prices.

     
 
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