There’s gonna be a lot more ice cream at the Minnesota State Fair when the gates open August 25.
The fair unveiled its new foods Tuesday, the annual preview of the dizzying array of new eating and drinking options at the 12-day gathering and eat-a-thon.
Think Cotton Candy Float (at German Root Beer and Popcorn), Deep Fried Ice Cream (Snack House in Warner Coliseum) and a licorice-infused Grey Duck sundae at Bridgeman’s.
But newcomer Union Hmong Kitchen also has a take on frozen desserts: Dej Qab Zib, a coconut lychee colada made with a blend of coconut milk, lychee syrup, lime and mint served over ice. And perennial headliner Hot Indian will have Kulfi, an Indian-style ice cream made with condensed milk, nuts and spices. It'll be available in three flavors: almond, cashew and pistachio; mango; and saffron, almond and pistachio.
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They’re takes on a theme for this year’s fair: a decidedly more diverse palette of foods for increasingly diverse Minnesota and its biggest single annual event.
New vendor Soul Bowl, in the food building, will have a Soulsicle: Fried chicken on-a-stick topped with candied yam sauce, cornbread crumble, mac-and-cheese seasoned, cheddar cheese, hot sauce and green onions.
The Herbivorous Butcher will have plant-based vegan versions of fair comfort food: fried chicken and chicken fried steak, with gravy and Texas toast.
All told there are more than three dozen official new foods and eight new vendors at the fair, which already has nearly 500 menu items at about 300 places around the grounds.
And of course, if you’re going to have ice cream, you better bring the cake: Longstanding stalwart Hamline Dining Hall has turned to local ice cream shop La Michoacana Rose for a new Birthday Cake Paleta, a frozen Mexican dessert on a stick, made with chunks of birthday cake. Mancini’s is rolling out its own cake on a stick option as well — but with an option to add edible short text messages to the decoration.
Other international options will include Turmeric Ginger Lemon Surprise, a take on lemonade, at West Indies Soul Food; a breakfast take on chilaquiles at Tejas Express; and three versions of traditional Venezuelan arepas from the Midtown Global Market’s Arepa Bar, a new entry at the fair.
And it wouldn’t be the fair without some foods of unclear origin: Dill pickle pizza perhaps? Rick’s Pizza will have hand-tossed dough topped with dill ranch sauce, mozzarella cheese and “crunchy dill pickles.”
And Jammy Sammies by Brim will offer a “Sundae Sammie” — a grilled sandwich including cinnamon toast, vanilla cream and strawberry jam.
As always, don’t forget to grab a handful of napkins before they hand over your Great Minnesota Get Together indulgences. Maybe bring a clean shirt, too.