I’d lobby fair officials to rename the Washington State Fair the Deep Fried Fair of Gluttony, but I’m pretty sure they’re still dealing with the backlash of dropping “Puyallup” from the official name (not that I’m harboring a longtime grudge or anything).
It’s an annual, nationwide competition at state fairs to see which vendor can fry the weirdest, gooiest, most caloric concoctions. There’s a good reason for that. Food-tainment is a big moneymaker, and fairgoers, despite cardiologist warnings, love big, fat, horrible-for-your food. It’s become a badge of honor to find the grossest concoction, snap a pic and share that moment of gluttony with the social mediasphere.
Fairs across the country this year debuted plenty of deep-fried depravity. We’ve got Minnesota to thank for deep-fried ribs. Iowa deserves a cardiologist consult thanks to its deep-fried nacho balls. Nebraska’s highlighted fair food this year included Spam. On a stick. That’s been fried. I’m trying hard not to shudder right now, and am thankful my fair dining duties won’t include Spam. I hope. (Check back next Friday to see what I did eat opening weekend).
And now for the food-tainment debuting this year at the Puyallup, errr, Washington State Fair. Drum roll, please.
Because corn on the cob dipped in butter wasn’t bad enough: The Corn Shack booth takes an innocent corn on the cob, jams it into a vat of batter, then fries the heck out of it. Does it come with a side of butter? And a treadmill? I hope. As if that’s not bad enough, The Totally Shucked booth is roasting corn on a cob, then covering it in mayonnaise and cheese. That same booth also will have a corn hush puppy cone.
Fried fish: Find lobster French fries and a lobster corn dog at Sharkey’s Fish Fry booth. OK, I might even try that one. It’s lobster, after all. This is the booth that also has Captain Crunch breaded shrimp on a stick with — what else? — sriracha sauce.
Totally Fried Booth: That’s the booth near the Blue Gate (across from Earthquake Burger) that serves an entirely fried menu. This year’s menu is listed as including deep-fried cake, bubble gum, salsa fritters, lemonade and ... fried peanut butter and jelly.
Bacon-wrapped dog: From the folks who serve a two-third pound burger wrapped in bacon (aptly called The Heart Attack) comes something new in the world of hot dogs. A bacon-wrapped dog at the so-good-they-named-it-thrice booth, Bacon Bacon Bacon. Speaking of fried dogs, Marlowe’s II plans to debut a Chihuahua dog. That’s a dog that’s split, wrapped in a flour tortilla and deep fried. Grab the Tums.
5 WAYS TO EAT BETTER AT THE FAIR
For those who want something a little less caloric at the fair, check out:
▪ Garden veggie burger at Bernie’s Burgers, Marlowe’s, Stop-n-Go burgers.
▪ Vegetable stir fry and fruit-based smoothies at Conifer.
▪ Strawberries on a stick at Duris concessions stands.
▪ Grilled chicken breast sandwich at Fred E’s.
▪ Garden veggie crepe at Crepe Chalet (also gluten free).