[Fox News] 7 intriguing new foods at the 2024 Minnesota State Fair, including ‘Grilled Purple Sticky Rice’

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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. 

Here are 7 items that are available this year.

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.” 

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.

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.

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

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.” 

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

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.

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. 

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

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