Minnesota State Fair food is about more than just cheese curds


Various Rides at the Minneapolis state fair

BELMONT, N.C. (NewsNation Now) In the world of fair food, that unique sort of chow found almost exclusively where the screams from whirling rides and shouts of midway carnies form the background of all interactions, the two high temples are the State Fair of Texas and the Minnesota State Fair. Occurring about a month apart, they are perpetually the top two fairs in terms of attendance, with Texas having the edge by a quarter-million visitors in 2019, according to TripTrivia.com.

While the rides certainly are fun, the midway games are a great way to spend a lot of money very quickly to win a giraffe the color of a Hawaiian sunset and the livestock shows are always fragrantly entertaining, true fair aficionados are there for the food.

Probably the biggest crowds at the MSF can be found around the Sweet Martha’s Cookies booths, where buckets of freshly made chocolate chip cookies (with or without milk) can be found. I’m going to brand myself a heretic here by saying I’m not really sure what all the hubbub was about. The cookies tasted like fairly standard Toll House cookies, and ended up rather packed together in the bucket.

The rest of the menu, however, is definitely to be sought out. You may think you’ve had fried cheese curds before, but you haven’t lived until you’ve gotten a cardboard tray of them fresh from the fryer and sat on a curb to devour them. It’s simply the way God intended them to be consumed. If you’re looking for a jolt, grab a cup of Swedish egg coffee. Yes, the name is off-putting, but Andrew Zimmern raved about during an episode of “Bizarre Foods: America,” so it must be good. (It’s actually quite tasty, if a bit odd.)

Of course, there’s great excitement every year surrounding all the new foods. One of the more eye-catching ones this year is the Buffalo chicken doughnut, described as, “Fluffy biscuit-style doughnuts stuffed with shredded chicken, glazed with a sweet & spicy buffalo icing, and topped with crispy bacon bits.”

Showing the classic tendency to take any ethnic foodstuff and turn it Minnesotan, you’ll find a “Banh Minn Bun” on offer, which consists of a sausage in a baguette roll with classic banh mi toppings. If you like fair food you’ll eat with your pinky extended, try the Sidecar Sandwich, described as, “Thick-cut cognac-infused bacon smothered with Cointreau and citrus marmalade, layered with melted havarti, smoked Gouda and aged cheddar, served on toasted sourdough bread and garnished with fresh orange slices.”

The new sweet treats will drive your blood sugar up just reading them, and of course there are new variations on cheese curds and even a vegan chorizo corn dog … the concept of which makes my brain hurt just a tiny bit.

After you’ve eaten your fill, be sure to pick a ride that won’t make you heave it all back up: the SkyGlider. This lazy sky tram will take you the length of the park and give you a chance to plot out your next food run. Be sure to look straight down while riding to see the array of socks, shirts, hats and undergarments discarded by previous riders onto the roofs of booths below. The display, of course, becomes more amazing as the fair goes on.

By the time the SkyGlider touches down, you’ll probably be ready for another little snack. Choose well!

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