The most daring food combos this summer are happening not in a New York four-star dining establishment or Napa kitchen but...at a Midwest state fair.
And, the most exciting additions to the 2016 Minnesota State Fair don’t even come on a stick.
Each year, the “Great Minnesota Get Together” teases the two-week event by unveiling the year’s new fair foods. Some vendors stay with the “on-a-stick” theme that the State Fair is known for, while others dig deep into the ingredients native to Minnesota: apples, corn, wild rice, even SPAM.
Past newcomers have included gems such as sweet corn ice cream (think Momofuku Milkbar’s Corn Cookies, but in ice cream form) ranging to every “deep fried and on-a-stick” offering you could imagine: oreos, olives, alligator bites.
Here’s a quick look at what’s new for 2016:
There’s no denying SPAM’s Austin, Minn.-based roots, what with the SPAM-mobile and travelling museum featured at the fair each year. SPAM Sushi will feature grilled spam, egg, sushi rice, wasabi and nori (basically a cousin to President Obama’s favorite SPAM-based snack: musubi).
For something aesthetically pleasing, The Strawberry Patch will add the Strawberry Donut Delight, aka a sliced, glazed doughnut filled with strawberries and cream.
Lake Street’s Korean-inspired Rabbit Hole will offer the Carpe Diem for one week only: a fish-shaped, buttermilk miso waffle cone filled with balsamic roasted strawberry compote, vanilla ice cream, and graham cracker crumbles.
And for the true purist, the Minnesota Corn Dog hits the best of both worlds: Minnesota-inspired flavors and a stick. The sausage inside this corndog has blueberries, apples, wild rice, maple syrup and cayenne.
But, if the idea of these, plus other newcomers like Candied Bacon Donut Sliders, Paneer On-a-Stick, and the Ruben Pickle Dog (yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like), make your stomach turn, you can always stick with this lapsed Minnesotan's tried and true picks: pork chop on a stick, milkshake from the Dairy Barn, cheese curds shared with at least two other people, and a big bucket of Sweet Martha’s cookies.