Korean hot dogs, more new fair food to try

Korean hot dogs, more new fair food to try

ASHEVILLE – The N.C. Mountain State Fair is in full swing with Ferris wheel and carousel rides. Along the midway, games challenge fairgoers’ skills and luck. Concession vendors also are making daring choices with their food and beverage options.

The annual Western North Carolina event, open through Sept. 17, has dining options to wow and amaze guests. From traditional American barbecue in pineapple bowls to sweet and spicy fruit cups and drinks, here are five vendors to visit at this year’s fair:

Korean corn dogs

Chef Allen Licud has brought Umami on Wheels ― the food truck component of the Raleigh-based Japanese restaurant, Umami Bistro ― to WNC.

Umami on Wheels switched up its menu with Asian-style bites ideal for strolling the midway.

A classic American fair favorite has been reinvented to incorporate techniques and flavors to make the trendy Korean corn dogs.

“The kids are like, ‘Oh, I really want to try this. I’ve seen it on TikTok and YouTube,” Licud said.

The K (Korean) Dog is a classic Korean corn dog with a panko bread crumbs coating.

The Potato Dog has a batter mix of panko and diced potatoes that might be served half-coated in melted mozzarella.

The Spicy Dog is stuffed with mozzarella, coated in panko, drizzled with spicy mayo and finished with bits of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos.

The menu also features mochi doughnuts and the fish-shaped Japanese waffle called Taiyaki.

Pineapple smoked meat bowls

MeMa’s Chick’n’ & Ribs’ pitmaster is keeping the wood-fired smoker stoked for cooking meats from ribs to turkey legs. The mobile catering company from Burgaw and first-time fair vendor company has veered from tradition to offer a Hawaiian-inspired barbecue dish.

Pineapple Bowls are served with smoked brisket, pulled pork or chicken served over rice and mixed vegetables inside a halved pineapple. As the pineapple is scooped out, it gives each bite a sweet and smoky flavor.

“With that pineapple, it’s like you’re in Hawaii itself,” said owner Myra McDuffie.

Frosted Flakes chicken-on-a-stick

Chicken & Waffles, a returning concession stand, offers a twist on breakfast bites, like its Frosted Flakes Chicken On-A-Stick.

“It’s a half pound of chicken battered in chicken fry, then pancake batter and then dipped into Frosted Flakes then thrown into the fryer,” said Jason Gorley, general manager of AP Concessions.

The sweet and savory dish is “the best of both worlds” and can be kicked up another notch with a drizzle of original or Sriracha maple syrup.

The menu includes chicken and waffles, Sriracha sliders and the Bird Dogs ― chicken tenders, bacon and cheddar cheese served in a hoagie.

Ribbon fries

Look out for the red and yellow flags to find a popular fair food and returning vendor, “Hot Fresh” Ribbon Fries.

The bundle of connected potato chips is stacked with options to fully load with toppings.

“We take two and a half potatoes. We use a drill, and it has a blade in the back, and it spins it so it’s kind of connected,” said Reece Miller, assistant manager. “Then, deep fry them for about two minutes. Then, you can top them off with cheese, bacon, ranch, jalapenos.”

The vendor is a go-to for freshly dipped corn dogs and freshly squeezed lemonade, too.

Mexican Fruit Cups

Generations Concessions, a six-generation family fair food business based in Wisconsin, is a first-time vendor at the Mountain State Fair, offering fresh fruit-based drinks, bubble smoothies, lemonades and teas.

“We put a minimal amount of sugar in them because my daughter wanted a healthy product for people who come to the fair and really don’t need all the sugar that they get,” said Tamara Vedell, the owner’s mother.

Order a regular fruit cup. Or switch it up with Mexican Fruit Cups, layered with various fruit chunks, like watermelon, mango, cantaloupe and pineapple, plus cucumber sticks spiced up with chamoy and Tajín seasoning.

The Mangonada smoothie is a chili-lime mango smoothie elevated by Tajín, chamoy and topped with mango pieces.

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Tiana Kennell is the food and dining reporter for the Asheville Citizen Times, part of the USA Today Network. Email her at [email protected] or follow her on Instagram @PrincessOfPage. Please support this type of journalism with a subscription to the Citizen Times.

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