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17 intriguing foods at 2024 Minnesota State Fair, including deep-fried dressing


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The Minnesota State Fair is known for its unique food offerings and the 2024 fair looks to be no exception. 

Earlier this week, the Minnesota State Fair announced the 33 new food items that will be available this year when the fair opens on Aug. 22 (it runs until Labor Day, Sept. 2). 

“We are so excited to announce our new foods for 2024. We work hard to present a diverse array of new foods each year and are excited to introduce several new vendors,” Maria Hayden, a spokesperson for the Minnesota State Fair, told Fox News Digital in an interview. 

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Some of the chefs who designed dishes for the fair are James Beard Award winners and semifinalists, she said. 

“In addition, there are a lot of fun new foods that we think people will be talking about, such as Deep-Fried Ranch Dressing, Dill Pickle Tots, Chile Mango Whip and, to wash it all down, Cotton Candy Iced Tea,” she said. 

The Minnesota State Fair announced that 33 new foods will be coming to the fair this year, including Grilled Purple Stick Rice and Deep-Fried Ranch Dressing.  (Minnesota State Fair)

Minnesota State Fair foods to know about

Here are 7 items that are available this year.

1. Deep-Fried Ranch Dressing

Described by the Minnesota State Fair as “ranch dressing filling made with ranch seasoning, buttermilk and cream cheese in a panko shell, deep-fried and dusted with ranch powder,” this vegetarian treat comes with “a side of hot honey sauce crafted with Cry Baby Craig’s hot sauce.” 

Deep fried ranch dressing, accompanied by a sauce. Panko-crusted ranch dressing.

Deep-Fried Ranch Dressing is served with a side of hot honey sauce. (Minnesota State Fair)

It will be available at LuLu’s Public House. 

“People in Minnesota love their ranch dressing,” Charlie Burrows, co-owner of Lulu’s, told Fox News Digital in an email, noting that “diners will ask for a side of ranch with almost everything.” 

A deep-fried ranch offering has been in the works for more than a year-and-a-half, Burrows said. 

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“We began by brainstorming popular flavors and figuring out ways we could deep-fry it,” he said. 

Despite the unusual nature of the dish, Burrows said he thinks people will love it.

“I’m really excited about Deep-Fried Ranch. We think it’s a great product. We wouldn’t have done it if we didn’t think it tasted great,” he said.

2. Walking Shepherd’s Pie

A unique take on the hearty sit-down pub staple, this dish takes what’s normally a messy meal and compacts it into a handheld pastry. 

The dish is “two handmade hot pastries filled with braised ground beef, mashed potatoes and a blend of onions, carrots and peas tossed in herb gravy,” according to the Minnesota State Fair.

A pastry shell filled with shepherd's pie ingredients.

The Walking Shepherd’s Pie features a handmade pastry shell. (Minnesota State Fair)

The Walking Shepherd’s Pie will be sold at O’Gara’s at the Fair.

3. Savory Éclairs in Two Varieties

For another twist on traditional pastry, there is no chocolate or pastry cream to be found on the savory éclairs offered at the Minnesota State Fair this year. 

Instead, the choux pastry éclair shell will be available as lobster or bánh mì.

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The Lobster Éclair is inspired by a New England-style lobster roll, according to the Minnesota State Fair.

The pastry will be stuffed with “lobster meat, celery, mayo, Cholula hot sauce, limes, chives and salt & pepper” and will be garnished with dried corn and micro cilantro, its description said. 

Image of two "savory eclair" pastries. One with lobster. One with banh mi ingredients.

The Savory Éclairs in Two Varieties offering takes the traditional fillings of a New England-style lobster roll and a bánh mì sandwich and serves them in a choux pastry shell.  (Minnesota State Fair)

Conversely, the bánh mì éclair will contain “pork confit, chicken liver pâté, pickled carrot & daikon, cucumber and sriracha mayo” and will be garnished with micro cilantro.

The bánh mì is a sandwich that originated in Vietnam. It is traditionally served on a baguette.

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The éclairs will be sold at Scenic 61 by New Scenic Café, according to the Minnesota State Fair.

4. Grilled Purple Sticky Rice

Move over, corn dogs. A new food on a stick is coming to the Minnesota State Fair this year.

The Grilled Purple Sticky Rice fish consists of purple sticky rice that is put on a stick and grilled on an open flame until crunchy, the Minnesota State Fair said.

The rice is then topped with either shredded Hmong beef jerky or a vegetarian option of pickled mushrooms. 

Purple sticky rice grilled over an open flame until crunchy, topped with beef.

Foods on a stick are an integral part of fair cuisine. This year, visitors to the Minnesota State Fair can try Grilled Purple Sticky Rice.  (Minnesota State Fair)

The dish is then garnished with herbs and a chili aioli, according to the fair. 

This unique offering will be sold at the Union Hmong Kitchen. It is a creation of James Beard Award semifinalist Yia Vang, who was inspired by his mom’s cooking, he told Fox News Digital in an email. 

“Growing up, we would eat toasted/grilled sticky rice. It was an incredibly easy snack my mom would make for us,” Vang said. 

The snack will be “crunchy, toasty and full of deep rich flavor,” he said, and is meant to be eaten “almost like” one would eat an ice pop. 

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“Instead, it’s a delicious crunchy grilled sticky rice with mom’s hot sauce and dad’s Hmong beef jerky,” he said. 

About 90,000 people in Minnesota are of Hmong descent, an ethnic group originally from Southeast Asia, according to the St. Paul Hmong Cultural Center. The Twin Cities have the largest urban Hmong population in the world, the Twin Cities Pioneer Press reported. 

5. Swedish ‘Sota Sliders

With a little more than 7% of the state reporting its Swedish ancestry, Minnesota has the highest number of Swedish Americans as well as the highest percentage of Swedish Americans for any U.S. state, according to the Census Bureau. 

The Swedish ‘Sota Sliders, available at Hamline Church Dining Hall, combine the American burger slider with nods to Swedish foods. 

Slider burger with lingonberry jam and a wild-rice meatball.

The Swedish ‘Sota Sliders are inspired by some of Sweden’s traditional food items.  (Minnesota State Fair)

The patty is a cranberry-wild rice meatball and is served with dill Havarti cheese and a relish of beets, red onions, red peppers, lingonberries and cranberries, according to the Minnesota State Fair.

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Lingonberries are native to Sweden and are often served with Swedish meatballs, Food.com said. 

6. Swedish Ice Cream Sundae

For dessert, the Salem Lutheran Church Dining Hall is debuting the Swedish Ice Cream Sundae this year.

The sundae features “vanilla ice cream covered in lingonberry jam, sprinkled with Swedish ginger cookie crumble and garnished with a ginger cookie heart.” 

Ice cream sundae with lingonberries and a cookie garnish.

The Swedish Ice Cream Sundae contains lingonberries and ginger cookies. (Minnesota State Fair)

7. Patata Frita Focacciawich

Another interesting dessert item with a mouthful of a name to match, the Patata Frita Focacciawich combines savory flavors with sweet treats.

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The name refers to the Spanish word for potato chips. 

It features a special “‘Patata Frita’ kettle chip-flavored ice cream” that was created by the Minnesota Dairy Lab, according to the Minnesota State Fair.

Focaccia ice cream sandwich with potato chips.

This treat melds potato chips, ice cream and focaccia all in one dish.  (Minnesota State Fair)

The potato chip-flavored ice cream is then sandwiched by focaccia bread and topped with honey butter, more kettle chips and herbs, the description said. 

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This unusual ice cream sandwich will be sold at the West End Creamery. 

Other new items this year

These food items will also be offered, according to the fair, among others. 

  • 3 Piggy Pals on a Stick
  • Ba’bacon Sour Cream + Onion
  • Blazing Greek Bites
  • Buffalo Cheese Curd & Chicken Tacos
  • Chile Mango Whip
  • Cookie Butter Crunch Mini Donuts
  • Cotton Candy Iced Tea
  • Crab Boil Wings
  • Deep-Fried Halloumi Cheese
  • Fried Bee-Nana Pie
  • Ham and Pickle Roll Up on a Potato Skin
  • Lady’s Slipper Marble Sundae
  • Marco’s Garden
  • Mocha Madness Shave Ice
  • Nixtamal & Wild Rice Bowl with Wóžapi & Bison Meatballs or Sweet Potato Dumplings
  • PB Bacon Cakes
  • Raging Ball
  • Shroomy “Calamari”
  • Strawberries and Cream Waffle Stick
  • Strawberry Lemonade Donut
  • Sweet Corn Cola Float
  • Sweet Heat Bacon Crunch
  • Turkey Kristo
  • Wrangler Waffle Burger

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