By Carmina Tiscareno
Food serves as one of the main reasons visitors attend the fair, known as the “fried food capital of Texas,” according to various food judging officials.
When Brookhaven College student Bridget Wittum looked at the list of new foods offered at the State Fair of Texas this year, she said she was excited to try the loaded avocado crispy fries, a tray of fresh avocado slices that are breaded and fried, covered in layers of Monterey Jack cheese, queso, bacon crumbles, fresh cilantro and jalapeño slices, because she loves avocado. She has tried fried avocado before and said she enjoyed it. Wittum also said she normally doesn’t eat fried food at the fair, because her cousin has a food booth there.
In 2005, the State Fair of Texas organizers created the first annual Big Tex Choice Awards, which is a food competition among the fair concessionaires before the fair begins.
New food entries are sampled by judges, and categories include “Best Taste” and “Most Creative.” This year’s Big Tex Choice Awards took place on Labor Day.
The Deep-Fried Cuban Roll won “Best Taste” at the event this year. It originated from a Cuban sandwich previously sold at the Taste of Cuba restaurant.
Issac Rousso, the winner of the award, said he rolled the sandwich into a pastry roll and deep fried it.
The deep-fried Cuban roll contains slow-cooked pork shoulder, chopped ham, pickles, and a secret sauce spread onto a slice of Swiss cheese.
Another option worth trying is the Fried Thanksgiving Dinner, which won “Most Creative” this year.
Justin Martinez, its creator, thought of the idea during Thanksgiving dinner last year. He filled his plate, then rolled everything into a ball to create this fried delicacy.
He said it was a long process to get the right proportion of ingredients to make it perfect.
This fried item includes traditional Thanksgiving dinner fare: homemade stuffing, diced roasted turkey and Southern cream corn rolled in a ball, seasoned in corn meal and fried to a crispy golden brown. This item is served with giblet brown gravy and a side of zesty orange cranberry sauce for dipping.
Other new foods worth sampling this year include Fernie’s Deep-Fried King Ranch Casserole, a finalist for the Big Tex Choice Awards.
This treat is presented in the shape of Texas, with a small flag flying on it. Red, white and blue tortilla chips with a choice of homemade salsafied sour cream or cheesy queso are included on the side.
The State Fair of Texas will take place from Sept. 27 until Oct. 20 in Fair Park, two miles east of downtown Dallas.