The Minnesota State Fair is synonymous with food and a Minnesota bucket list MUST. People flock to the fair each year for returning favorites and for a chance to try new items that have graced the streets of the state fair grounds.
As a foodie, I discovered the fair the way most people discover things: on the internet. A video went viral last fall of delicious food at the fair and the main food it was focused on was Martha’s Cookies. As soon as I saw the video I knew that 2017 was the year I would go to the fair! Staying to true to my decision, I went to the fair opening weekend and tried out many foods.
Know Before You Go:
- Classic rookie mistake: Plan before you go to the fair. The fairgrounds are huge and you cannot possibly eat everything in 1 day – not even close. Pick the items that are really calling to you and get a map of the grounds so you can easily find everything.
- Lines: there will be lines for a lot of vendors. I went really early in the morning (and it happened to be raining as well) and I never stood in line for more than 2 minutes. When the rain stopped and it got to be afternoon, lines started getting long.
- Skip driving and paying to park and opt to Uber or Lyft: There is a drop off and pick up for both at the top end of the Fairgrounds and I paid around $9 each way from Roseville, MN.
The Minnesota State Fair has food like most standard fairs: elephant ears, hot dogs, caramel apples, corn dogs, cotton candy, funnel cake, etc. I opted to skip these items in favor of trying non-traditional foods. But don’t get me wrong, I do love these foods and have heard that they are excellent at this fair.
My favorite food at the fair was actually a surprise. I told myself I wanted to try it because it just sounded crazy and to my surprise, ended up being a fantastic food. Texas Steak Out offered up the Cheesy Nacho Corn on the Cob. It is actually an easy dish to make: cook the corn, roll it in mayo, and then put crushed Nacho Cheese Doritos and nacho cheese sauce on the corn. And wa-la.
My second favorite food – and the reason that I came to the fair was Martha’s Cookies. I went ahead and just bought the bucket – which is about 4 dozen hot, gooey chocolate chip cookies. Naturally I could not eat that many cookies so I passed some out at the fair (making friends :)).
If you are going to walk around all day eating cookies and other decadent foods – you might as well get some milk to go with it.
I had discovered a day before I went to the fair (I should have known but poor planning on my end) that there was a Spam counter. I love Spam and I never eat it (unless I go to Hawaii). I made an exception and it sure paid off. The Spam curds are divine. You are probably reading that last sentence thinking Spam and divine don’t go together – but I assure you, in this case, they do. Do not skip this item.
I am obsessed with all things bacon and I knew I would not be able to try everything with bacon on it or in it – so I went with recommendations and just had bacon on a stick from Big Fat Bacon. They grill the bacon and then pour syrup on it (you can also order it without the syrup). Straight up, fat bacon on a stick. Who knew eating bacon on the go could be so tidy and delicious.
Fried Olives was not my favorite food at the fair but it was good. There are several ways you can order this treat but I opted for the non-spicy olives stuffed with cream cheese then battered and fried. I think there was about 6 olives on the stick stuffed.
My other bacon try was the Duck Bacon Wontons at Giggle’s Campfire Grill. The wonton is stuffed with duck bacon, sweet corn and cream cheese. This is a new food for the fair this year (2017) and was one of my top items to try. Golden brown perfection on the cooking and warm gooey insides.
One beverage you should not miss at the state fair is lemonade. Definitely opt to get fresh squeezed if you can – you will love it.
Another sweet treat worth checking out and a fair favorite is the mini donuts at Tom Thumb Donuts. I believe 16 minis came in a bag and they are cooked right in front of you. Sorry for the lack of photo – it was raining really good at this point in the day and they needed to be eaten quickly.
My mom accompanied me on this trip to the fair and we hit a point where we could not try anymore food. I still had a long list of foods I wanted to try but just couldn’t get to it.
Do you have any fair food favorites? I wish I had more time and days to try everything – but there is always next year!
- Address: 1265 Snelling Ave. N., St. Paul, MN 55108
- Phone: (651) 288-4400
- Purchase Tickets –> Here
Disclaimer: I was hosted by the Roseville Minnesota Tourism Board, but as always, opinions are entirely my own.