Fairs have a long history of food innovation. Some fair foods debut for convenience, to capitalize on a culinary trend, or for shock value. If you can fry it, skewer it, or dip it in something sweet, chances are you can find it at a fair. Here are the 10 most bizarre fair foods.
Number Ten: Spaghetti and Meatballs on a Stick. On their own, spaghetti and meatballs aren’t very bizarre, but jamming them onto a stick is. To get the classic pairing to stay on the stick, cheese and cooked pasta are placed inside the meatball, and then it’s all fried to crispy perfection.
Number Nine: Hot Beef Sundae. Sometimes fair food may not be exactly what the name implies. A hot beef sundae isn’t chunks of beef on ice cream. The name comes from its sundae-like appearance. Slices of marinated beef surround a heaping scoop of mashed potatoes, and then they’re topped with sprinkles of corn, cheese, gravy, and a cherry tomato to top it all off.
Number Eight: Spaghetti Ice Cream. Sometimes fair food may not be what it looks like either. At first glance, spaghetti ice cream looks like a plate of pasta doused in marinara sauce and covered with grated parmesan cheese. At first bite, it tastes like vanilla ice cream covered in whipped cream, topped with strawberry sauce and coconut flakes, almonds, or white chocolate.
Number Seven: Wine-Fried Kale. Studies have shown that drinking wine in moderation has health benefits. Kale is one of the healthiest vegetables known to man. But health is not of the utmost importance at the fair, so why not fry the leafy green in wine?
Number Six: Kool-Aid Pickles. Sipping on Kool-Aid brings back childhood memories. Chewing cherry Kool-Aid-soaked pickles does not. As crazy as this sounds, the sweetness of the Kool-Aid pairs well with the saltiness and tartness of the pickles.
Number Five: Wacky Burgers. If you try some of the unusual burgers at a fair, make sure you know a good cardiologist. From the Krispy Kreme burger, which substitutes the usual bun with two glazed donuts, to cheeseburger a la mode, which is a hearty burger topped with fried vanilla ice cream, to fried White Castle sliders, the fair is the place to find unique burgers. Debuting at the New York fair this year is “the Defibrillator,” a burger topped with fried pickles, fried cheese curds, fried bacon, cheddar cheese, and served between two whole grilled cheese sandwiches.
Number Four: Reptiles on a Stick. Alligator and snake kebabs are an option at many state fairs around the United States. We don’t know for sure how Samuel L. Jackson feels about eating snake, but we think he’d say something like this: “I’ve had it with the motherf***ing snakes on this motherf***ing stick!”
Number Three: Kangaroo Spiedies. A spiedie is a classic sandwich served at the New York state fair that is usually marinated and grilled chicken, lamb, or beef on a roll. But you can always spring for the kangaroo option, served since 2011.
Number Two: You Deep Fried What? It seems these days that fairs live by the mantra: If you fry it, they will come. At some fairs, meals are fried like jambalaya or “fried picnic,” fried chicken with tater tots and pickles — served on a stick, of course. Sometimes they deep fry childhood (bubblegum, jelly beans, peanut butter and jelly, Twinkies, and Oreos), sometimes they deep fry adulthood (cola, beer, margaritas, and coffee), and sometimes they deep fry shame (butter, bacon, and pizza).
Number One Fair Foods: Maggot Sandwich
Some fairgoers seek the extremely unique, thrilling, and controversial options like the maggot sandwich. If fly larva isn’t your idea of a tasty meal, there’s always chocolate-covered insects or arachnids.