Food on a Stick

Food on a Stick

I haven’t confirmed this with my parents, but I am quite sure that this is the first year I will not be attending the Great Minnesota Get Together since I was born 29 years ago.  The Minnesota State Fair is my favorite “holiday” and a Minnesota tradition I can really get behind.  Lutefisk being the only other Minnesota tradition that I [unwillingly] participate in each year, but who can get behind lutefisk as a tradition for anyone but their worst enemies?

It’s hard to pick the best part of the Minnesota State Fair.  Is it the abundance of twangy country acts performing for free at the Leinie’s Lodge?  The grandstand shows featuring bands that were popular decades ago, but you can still sing-a-long to?  The people watching?  The toothless carnies in the Midway or the plethora of food on a stick?

While the people watching is second to none, leading you to stare uncomfortably at entire families of people so rotund they couldn’t find a shirt to cover their belly and are eating chocolate dipped bacon on a stick.  Going to the State Fair can really be an esteem booster as you leave wondering when the last time many of your fellow fair goers saw their feet.  But, the people watching wouldn’t be half as entertaining without an artery-clogging treat on a stick to eat while you cattily observe.

It is especially fun to see what those crazy fair organizers will come up with each year to out-do deep-fried Snickers Bars.  Some of my favorites include; pork chop on a stick, I’m convinced it tastes better just because it’s on a stick, mini donuts and the best Fair treat there is a buttery piece of sweet corn on the cob.  None of the food on a stick I have encountered in Asia has been as tasty as Fair food, but it’s been much more bizarre.

Below are the top five foods on a stick I’ve had in Asia:

1. Ecto-Cooler Slime Dough Balls

    These were actually looking like a good snack option as they were being made fresh at the night market in Luoyang, China.  However, after we ordered them we were getting ready to pay when the sauce extravaganza started.  First was a squirt of what looked like hot sauce, then a “healthy” helping of mayonnaise, which didn’t see too bad until she squeezed on the neon-green ecto-cooler slime and sprinkled pork floss on top.  We ate them anyway as we had paid a whole 40 cents for them and I can’t tell you if they were good or bad because there were so many strange flavors happening at once it seemed like something only Willy Wonka could have dreamed up.

    2. Ancient Ice Cream

      This is genius, right up there with dippin’ dots only far less creative.  From what we can tell this “Ancient Ice Cream” is no different than any other ice cream except in it’s cement block shape and high price.  But someone is making money because we fell for it.

      3. Deep fried gyoza roll

        This was probably one of the best offerings on a stick I have had, simply because it wasn’t weird.  It was as far as I can tell gyoza (pot stickers), but deep-fried like an egg roll- pretty tasty.

        4. Bugs on a stick

          I wouldn’t necessarily advocate these to be the next big Fair food on a stick, but insects certainly draw a crowd.  Everyone lines up to try them and have a picture taken to prove that yes they did eat a scorpion or other bug du jour.  I have had deep fried tarantula and tree ants and I can say they both were pretty good, cheap protein.

          5. Jell-O on a stick

            It seems impossible to get Jell-O to hold it’s shape on a stick, but these sweets  texture and taste was exactly like Jell-O to me.  They were little delicious treats available for about 25 cents a pop, not bad.

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            » Donna :
            Sep 2, 2011

            Well, this was a timely article as I just came home from the fair late last night. I’m not as much a die-hard fair goer as you … in the past it could be up to five years between my visits. The last few years I’ve made an annual trek over there to watch great-niece Hannah compete in high school rodeo at the coloseum, and spend far more time around horses than food booths. Having said that, I still enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of the state fair. And we tried the new sweet corn ice cream yesterday … it wasn’t anything to write home about, but it was good, especially with the wild blueberry topping! As for stuff on a stick … well, I don’t indulge in much of that, having never been a big fan of pronto pups … and deep fried insects would probably merit several well timed photos rather than actually inserting one into my mouth! AND I will give you a hearty amen to your take on lutefisk! Hey … maybe if you rolled it in a batter and deep fried it, it would taste better???? Hmmmmm ….

            LOCAVORista Reply:

            Donna, sweet corn ice cream? Haven’t read about that in the fair reviews I’ve come across, but sounds interesting. Thanks for the fair report.

            » Cindy :
            Sep 2, 2011

            Loved this. You definitely proved your point. And Matt is correct on his timeline for attending the state fair.

            » Mom A :
            Sep 3, 2011

            The only summer I think Erica might have missed the State Fair was the summer of her internship in Healdsburg, California. I can also vouch for her taste of lutefisk each Christmas it has been served. Our trip to the fair this year included hot dish on a stick, which satisfied our curiosity but not our taste buds. Guess what was new at the fair this year? Dirt Dessert! It was not on a stick. But it did not get a good review. Upon hearing the ingredients used, I am convinced I should have been granted the booth since mine was always a hit and my recipe is quite different! The bug on a stick presentation is quite eye catching, especially compared to the bowls and bags we had to choose from in Cambodia. Not too tempted, though, unless they have a short stick!

            We have you covered – we attended the MN State Fair twice, once for us and once for you. Hope you liked the walleye cakes!

            Eat well!

            thinkCHUA Reply:

            Mom, thanks for scouting out the delicacies on a stick this year at the Fair. Love the walleye cakes, thanks for eating some for us! I definitely think your dirt dessert would win!

            » dad a :
            Sep 4, 2011

            good fun as always……my bug/stick story in Cambodia had us eating at a guest house and the father and son and i and others went out back to “catch” the tarantulas for apps….. long stick in ground soon found the bugs a coming…..the 3-5 year old son loved eating the wigglie/alive legs, much to his father dismay and our shocked expressions….ate one, but not a state fair booth opportunity, chicken and beer has greater potential, me thinks……your north korea and all photos do indeed say/tell a 1,000 words……saw the movie the debt today, quite good…….as always, be safe, be happy… you guys…

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            About the Author

            LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.

            About the Author
            LOCAVORista: A curious adventurer exploring the culinary delights and local traditions around the world. Currently on a 3 year round-the-world trip discovering amazing cultures, must-eats and off-the-beaten-track destinations.
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