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WEB EXCLUSIVE Right about now Raleighites and out-of-towners from throughout the state would be flocking to the State Fairgrounds for the annual N.C. State Fair. We’d already be complaining about the traffic, or looking out at the city from high above the ferris wheel, or stuffing our faces with a funnel cake. But unfortunately, due to COVID, the State Fair was cancelled this year and there will be no rides, games or shows. However, we can still get our hands on some ubiquitous State Fair foods thanks to local restaurants and catering companies that are featuring State Fair-themed menus during the 10-day period the fair would have been operating (October 15 through 25). Below, we highlight some of the delicious fair food offerings from around the Triangle.
Japanese Fried Chicken (JFC) with Fried Ramen Mac-n-Cheese at Tonbo Ramen
Tonbo Ramen puts their own unique Asian twist on fried mac-n-cheese by adding ramen noodles to the mix then pairing it with a Japanese-style fried chicken quarter. It’s a delicious spin on a classic Southern meal that any North Carolinian can get behind.
Catering Works Car-No-Ween
Catering Works is combining the State Fair and Halloween into one delicious drive-thru event this Saturday, October 17. Preorder a box of festive goodies including turkey legs, corn dogs, caramel apples and funnel cake fries to enjoy in lieu of traditional State Fair festivities.
Time slots are selling fast and may or may not be available as of press time.
Dole Whip Cocktail at STIR
Everyone loves a Dole Whip, but wait until you try it in cocktail form. STIR’s refreshing drink includes Plantation Pineapple Rum, John D. Taylor’s Velvet Falernum Liqueur and pineapple juice served over shaved ice with grated nutmeg and a pineapple wedge garnish.
Ko•rn Dog, Zipper Roll and Fried Ice Cream from Kō•än
Kō•än’s State Fair menu incorporates classic fair foods like corn dogs and fried ice cream into unique dishes that are all their own for a classy take on fair delicacies that’s just as decadent. For the Ko•rn Dog, they make their own hot dogs in-house then serve it with gochu-chup, NC honey mustard and pickled onion.
Crispy Garlic Chicken Sandwich from Sassool
If you’re not about all the grease and extra calories that come with typical State Fair foods, go for Sassool’s lighter grilled chicken sandwich. It features crispy garlic chicken, Sassool’s cabbage slaw, sliced roasted potatoes and whipped garlic aioli on a locally made potato bun. Yum!
Smoked Turkey Leg and Fried Strawberries from Whiskey Kitchen
The State Fair wouldn’t be the State Fair without those huge smoked turkey legs. Whiskey Kitchen jazzes theirs up with a spiced Cheerwine and bourbon glaze for a touch of sweetness. Additionally, you can’t leave without trying the fried strawberries for dessert—they take frozen strawberries and dunk them in funnel cake batter, then fry them up and dust them with powdered sugar.
State Fair Board from Grazin’ Gals
Grazin’ Gals’s State Fair Board features all the treats you look forward to most at the State Fair, including candy apples from Kandy Apples By K, doughnuts, giant s’mores marshmallow and artisan chocolate bars from Elevated Chocolates, a slice of apple pie from Slice Pie Company, kettle corn and more!
Fried Sushi on a Stick from Kanki
At the N.C. State Fair it’s acceptable to put anything on a stick, so why not fried sushi? Kanki’s play on the delicious handheld snack includes a tempura batter-fried sushi roll with spicy tuna and avocado served with spicy mayo and sweet soy sauce—all on a stick!
Roman Carnival Doughnuts from Coronato Pizza
What do you get when you combine Carnival and the State Fair? Coronato’s Roman Carnival Doughnuts! Chef Teddy Diggs makes the pillowy soft doughnut holes in-house then serves them with your choice of cinnamon sugar or a sweet and colorful combo of royal icing and rainbow sprinkles.
Funnel Cake Sundae from Andia’s Homemade Ice Cream
Andia’s in Cary is known for their extravagant ice cream creations, so doing a State Fair-themed menu just makes sense. Their funnel cake sundae is a staggering stunner—a freshly baked funnel cake is loaded with a double scoop of ice cream and drizzled and sprinkled with a sauce and topping of your choice. Fruity pebbles and caramel make a delicious and colorful combo!
Taste of the State Fair at the N.C. State Fairgrounds
The State Fair’s fair food drive-thru is back at the fairgrounds from October 15 to 25, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. Twenty-two local vendors will be on-site selling all your favorite fair foods for takeout only, including Old Style Foods (known for their fried confections), Party in a Pita, Ragin’ Cajun, Fat Boys BBQ and many more.
S’mores and Pumpkin Beignets from La Farm Bakery
La Farm has always played a big part in the N.C. State Fair. Their food truck can usually be found on the fairgrounds, serving their coveted s’mores to hungry customers in search of something sweet and nostalgic. While their food truck won’t be at the fair this year, you can still order their delicious s’mores straight from the bakery on October 16 through 18 and October 23 through 25. They’ve also added seasonal pumpkin beignets to the lineup as well.
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