Santa Barbara took a bite of carnival foods this past weekend at a dinosaur-themed fair and exhibit. On Saturday night, the funnel cake station had the biggest line out of all the food vendors, demonstrating which fair food was most popular among the crowd. But funnel cakes were not the only treats available — some people opted for the classic hot dog while others tried the trendy foods and desserts.
This is a guide to the 2019 fair food menu that is worth checking out. The categories judged were based off of price, presentation and overall flavor.
5. Chicken Teriyaki
Not in for a sweet treat? Try the chicken teriyaki served on a bamboo skewer. The meat is tender, juicy and packed with a sweet and tangy sauce that drips off your mouth with every bite. What is nice is that the meat strips off easily and the chunks of meat are large. While the chicken teriyaki was smoked and seasoned to perfection, at $15 for two skewers, you are better off getting a bang for your buck somewhere else.
4. Deep-Fried Oreos
Do you want a fluffy sweet treat? The deep-fried Oreo can satisfy that need. The outside of the fried dough is lightly sprinkled with powdered sugar, providing a subtle sweetness when you first bite into the treat. As you further bite into the center, you are met with a warm, melted Oreo cookie that gushes with white creme, completing the missing sweet element the treat needs. Served to order and ready in less than three minutes, deep-fried Oreos are a quick fix to a person’s sweet tooth. Priced at $5, this treat is for one serving — perfect if you are looking for a personalized snack.
3. Chili Cheese Fries
Fairs are known for their heavy comfort food, and this fair was no exception. The loaded chili cheese fries take the third spot for worthy fair food, not because of their presentation but because they are filling and topped off with the right amount of sauces. The soft fries could have been sold on their own with a layer of the creamy cheddar sauce, since the sauce was melted enough to smoother all over the fries and did not stiffen as time went on. The chili had bits of ground beef that floated among the sauce, but was not flavorful enough to make an impact on the dish. The fries cost $12.75, the amount you would expect for large-portioned food at the fair.
2. Hawaiian Honey Cones
Not in the mood for a warm treat and looking for a frozen treat? The Hawaiian Honey Cones are just right for you. The J-shaped ice cream cone tastes like honey and is thick in density, allowing it to hold ice cream. The cone is filled with a rich vanilla Hokkaido ice cream, a Japanese-inspired flavor, which makes it taste fresh and not artificial or watery. The treat wins points for being trendy and tasting like honey, living up to its name. It goes for $7 a cone and is worth every penny because the cone concept is unique and the ice cream leaves you wanting more, but you can only get this treat at the Hawaiian Honey Cones stands.
1. Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog
The bacon-wrapped hot dog took the number one spot because it looks appetizing and is packed with a variety of ingredients and flavors. This was a jumbo hot dog grilled in thin pieces of bacon wrapped all around. Apart from chicken, mayo and mustard, people had the option to add grilled onions and bell peppers for free. The onions were soft and crisp from their caramelization while the green bell peppers were also soft but remained crunchy. The grilled onions and green bell peppers complemented the savory hot dog, as the sweetness of the onions and juiciness of the bell peppers provided a punch of flavors and textures. While the dog was $11, it was worth the price because the service was fast and the hot dog was not plain or small.
A local college resident says the prices charged at the fair are high, but they still enjoyed the experience of getting on rides and trying several fair foods.
“What I did enjoy was the deep-fried Oreos; they were fantastic,” Niko Estrada, environmental studies major at UC Santa Barbara, said. “I don’t go in with the expectation of eating healthy foods … you go to indulge.”
Groups of people came out to enjoy the 30th annual Santa Barbara Fair and Expo, which ran from Wednesday of last week until this past Sunday. There were as many food vendors for people try as there were ride options for people to experience.