Any self-respecting state fair knows that the food it serves had better be deep-fried and bacon-wrapped.
This year’s Kansas State Fair is just dripping with deep-fried, bacon-wrapped self-respect.
When the fair opens Friday, it will offer its usual menu of stunt foods — items that no one would consider eating except for the fun of it during the fair — as well as the usual list of corn dogs, tacos and church-made chicken and noodles.
This year is unusual, said Sue Stoecklein, the fair’s director of commercial exhibits, because none of the vendors are new. The fair offers dibs on spots to the previous year’s vendors, and everyone opted to come back. (Bad news for the waiting list of more than 50 food purveyors who want a spot.)
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Several of those returning, though, are mixing up their menus.
Following is a look at what’s new to eat at the Kansas State Fair:
• Deep-fried turkey legs : Giant grilled turkey legs have always been a festival/fair favorite. Now, they’re deep-fried and are said to look (and taste) like oversized pieces of fried chicken. They’ll be at 434 Foods at 303 Lake Talbott Ave.
• Bacon-wrapped corn dogs: Roadhouse Bar and Grill at 312 Cottonwood Ave. doubles the pork pleasure by wrapping the unofficial official food of the Kansas State Fair in a strip of bacon.
• Muddy Pig: 434 Foods at 303 Lake Talbott Ave. will offer a food made famous at the Wichita River Festival a few years back — the sweet and salty combination of bacon dipped in chocolate. They’ll also have deep-fried Oreos, a favorite from a few years back.
• Deep-fried bacon with jalapenos: Bacon AND deep friedness in one dish. It’s available at Bernard’s, 313 Fort Riley Blvd.
• Wicked cookies: These tiny cookies are about the size of a quarter and are available by the hat (a cup) or the cauldron (a bucket). The vendor has designed her booth at 308 Fort Riley Blvd. to look like Dorothy’s house from “The Wizard of Oz.”
• Carrot cake funnel cakes: West Moreland foods at 407 Pride of Kansas Ave. introduced the decadent red velvet funnel cakes in 2011. They’ll have those again and are adding funnel cakes made out of carrot cake batter.
• Blue sapphire funnel cakes: West Moreland also has a booth at 300 Grandstand Ave., where it’ll serve funnel cakes meant to pay tribute to the 100th anniversary of the Titanic. The cakes, white chocolate-flavored with dramatic blue food coloring, are meant to mimic the necklace worn by Kate Winslet’s character in the 1997 movie.
• Deep-Fried Thin Mints: The Girl Scouts also are celebrating a 100th birthday this year, and Brackets at 303 Fort Riley Blvd. is celebrating by deep-frying one of its most popular cookies.
• Mennonite New Year’s Cookies: Residents of Hutchinson love these treats, which are sort of like fried raisin doughnut holes coated in cinnamon sugar. They’re always a big seller at the Mennonite Relief sale that happens there in April. Girst Deli & Bakery inside Cottonwood Court will have them available during the fair.
• Mongolian omelets: Ye Old Grill, the Mongolian grill that opened last year at 405 Grandstand Ave. right across from Ye Old Mill, is adding a breakfast option this year. The grill chefs will cook up build-your-own omelets for fairgoers in the morning.
• For traditionalists: Longtime fair food staples also will still be available this year, including Pronto Pups, Jaffle sandwiches, church-lady chicken and noodles, church-lady tacos and enchiladas, roasted corn, saltwater taffy, alligator on a stick, fresh-squeezed lemonade and more.