Column: Fair and fried

The tastiest meals and not-so-great foods of the State Fair

Nnenna Nchege gives the 12 ticket fried cheesecake five stars. Despite its simplicity, it was the tastiest treat of the day.

When you think of The State Fair, you think of food, and most importantly all things fried. Nnenna Nchege reviews 10 fried staples that are essential for any visit to the fair.


The rating system is based on of a scale of 1-5 stars:

5 stars – Dip me in chocolate and deep fry me because I’m in Fair food heaven.

4 stars – Not quite the Ferris Wheel of rides, but also not the Crazy Mouse either.

3 stars – Decent but not worth waiting in a long line for.

2 stars – Nothing special, probably would be happier with a classic funnel cake or corn dog.

1 star – You’d be better off spending your money on the ring toss in the Midway.


The number in the parathesis is the number of State Fair coupons needed to purchase an item. Each coupon is worth 50 cents.  


Best Desserts

Fried Snickers (12)

The only weird about the fried Snickers was the texture. It mostly tasted like a warm Snickers bar and had a surprisingly good taste. Fried Snickers wouldn’t be considered a “staple” that must be tasted but it is a good alternative if you’re looking for something a little different.

3 Stars

Fried Oreos (14)

It was my first time tasting fried Oreos ever and it was the best thing I ate at the Fair. Fried Oreos tastes like a chocolate funnel cake. The thing that makes fried Oreos better is the shape and consistency. The Fair had just opened when the Oreos so they were fresh, that’s also what made them taste really good. They are easy to eat and aren’t too messy. Great for a small dessert if someone is in search for something a little light. The only unsatisfying thing about the Oreos was portion size, just three for 14 coupons.

4 Stars

Fried Cheesecake (12)

It seemed as though the treat was a thin layer of tasty cheesecake deep fried and served with powdered sugar on top. Although simple, this dessert was definitely one of the best-tasted foods during our trip. The fried cheesecake was warm and melted in your mouth, the batter added a nice layer on top of the cheese and divided up the sweet flavor.

5 Stars

Arroz Con Leche- Sweet Crispy Rice (20)

The 2018 Big Tex Choice Award-winning dessert was surprisingly pleasant. Just from the name, it’s not really clear what type of dessert will be received. There are two fried rice balls with vanilla ice cream in the middle, all topped with caramel drizzle. The rice balls were not too overpowering with a sweet taste and the ice cream gave it just enough sugary flavor. The crispy puffed rice cereal coating the rice balls lacked taste and. did not compliment the rice, but added too much of a crunchy texture, which did not go well with the soft ice cream.

3 Stars

Sweet Bakin’ Bacon (14)

The sweet bakin’ bacon had mixed reviews across the board. Students weren’t sure what the treat exactly was and seemed hesitant when tasting it. A creamed-filled sponge cake is wrapped in bacon and deep fried. This batter on batter treat is sprinkled with powdered sugar to finish.  Although students were skeptical about the dessert, everyone was pleased. This dessert was another example of how the sugary flavor was not too overpowering because there was a buffer to reduce the urge of thinking that the dessert was too sugary.

4 Stars


Fried mac and cheese sliders (14)

The fried mac and cheese comes in a fried patty shape. The only things that were presented on the slider were the bread, the mac and cheese patty, and the beef patty. The bread was not your average burger bun, but was more of a sandwich bread, buttery and complimented the slider very well. The beef patty was the least favorable piece of the slider. It resembled a fast food-type of patty and tasted as though it had been frozen. Overall it was enjoyable and something that would be ordered again.

3.5 Stars

Fried butter (10)

Fried butter was one of my least favorite foods I tried during the day. Four fried butter balls were included in the presentation that dripped with honey and extra butter. It just tasted like a biscuit with an extremely large amount of butter and a taste of honey. Not worth the 10 coupons, it was one of the worst purchases of food of the day.  

1 Star

Famous Fried Pepperoni Pizza (14)

Although sometimes the fried foods at the fair aren’t exactly what they sound like, such as the fried butter, fried pizza is a completely accurate name. There was one slice of pepperoni pizza deep fried and then topped with extra sauce, pepperoni, and cheese. Although the batter could be tasted, the fried pizza tasted like a regular slice of pizza, though some of our group were also reminded of baked ziti or lasagna. The “fried” portion of the dish wasn’t really that noticeable and it was actually a waste of money.  It didn’t seem like the pizza was fried at all, it just tasted like regular pizza, you’d be better off eating a frozen pizza at home.

2.5 Stars

Fried PBJ & Banana (14)

This isn’t your average PB & J sandwich. The sandwich is peanut butter and banana and then deep fried with jelly poured on top. The banana slices added an odd flavor to the original sandwich, however, the jelly on top instead of inside the sandwich was a nice touch.

3.5 Stars

Fernie’s Hoppin’ John Cake with Jackpot Sauce (16)

If you’re looking for a fried staple that isn’t too overbearing, then the 2018 Big Tex Choice winner for best tasting savory item is for you. A perfect comfort food, the black-eyed peas give it the southern ritual but the cake shape gives it that modern fair style.

3 Stars

Overall, the food was pleasing and very filling. There is no need to go to the fair on an empty stomach, it has a variety of options for all food lovers young to old. One thing about the food in general at the fair this is a bit disappointing is that certain foods are hard to find and although there is a map, it’s not always helpful. Some of the food listed on the state fair website like the Bacon Brittle and Texas Twang-Kie’s were challenging to locate, it was quite an inconvenience because they were two things I was excited to try. Also, the food is pretty pricey, especially the items that aren’t given big portions such as the Fried Oreos and the Fried mac and cheese sliders. I recommend getting a few meals and sharing them amongst a group of people, that way you get the most bang for your buck.