Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

The 5 best-kept food secrets at the State Fair's International Bazaar

Thrilling trips for your tastebuds are here.
Author:

This story is part of our 2017 Minnesota State Fair Music, Food & Beer Guide.

In the frenzied quest to taste all of the new Minnesota State Fair Foods, be sure not to bypass the outer reaches of the fairgrounds.

In the International Bazaar, beyond your name on a grain of rice, beyond the “You can Tell a German but You Can’t Tell Him Much” T-shirts, and the many, many other trinkets, some truly tasty treats await.

Here are the top five finds worth the trip. 

Singh’s Caribbean Heat's hot sauces 

What’s food without hot sauce? Nothing. The antidote to Minnesota bland is Sing’s Caribbean Heat, run by Joe Singh. The Trinidad native's brother is famous Minnesota chef Harry Singh (of Nicollet Avenue restaurant & Food Building booth Harry Singh's – both serving delectable Caribbean cuisine). 

Singh slings over 500 labels of sauces in the Bazaar, and just hanging out with the man is a spicy experience in itself. Ask for a taste of the hottest – currently a variety with Carolina Reaper, the world’s spiciest chiles. Even the Singhs themselves refused to taste it during our recent stop. 

Fiesta in America's Island Tropical Bar

Fiesta in America's booth features unique salty and sweet treats from Mexico that are inexpensive and delicious. I’m particularly fond of the hard-to-find Island Tropical Bars, the Chicago-based cult favorite ice cream treat. They come in exotic flavors like horchata (a beverage made from nuts, seeds, and warm spices), chile ice, and Mamey (a sweet, creamy, tropical tree fruit). Also more-familiar flavors like strawberry cream and pina colada are available. At just three bucks a pop, they’re just the wallet-friendly thing to cool off a whole family on a hot day at the fair. 

Hot Indian's S’moresas 

I love Hot Indian for their fresh, modern take on Indian cooking. Their food truck and Midtown Global Market space keep eaters in Indi-tacos, samosas and “indurittos.” 

They keep things fresh at the fair with new annual specialties, and this year’s “S’moresas” have been a big hit all around. A traditional S’more with dark chocolate gets stuffed into a samosa wrapper and deep fried. A sweetened, condensed milk dipping sauce with warm Indian spices keeps things even more interesting. 

The nod to the classic American fun treat with a cross-cultural twist, combined with the on-point execution has all the makings of a State Fair classic dish. 

Holy Land's Deli Samosas and Gyros on a Stick 

Samosas should be one of our state dishes, and the gyro on a stick is a gyro on a freaking stick, so these two Holy Land Deli offerings are tied for my attentions. 

The samosas are easy-to-like, deep-fried dumplings. They're veggie-filled, which garners extra points since vegetarian-friendly foods can be a challenge to find at the fair. The little pot of cucumber tzatziki on the side lets you wander, dunk, and pop. 

But the gyro on a stick delivers more than anyone could have bargained for, with a popsicle-sized and shaped slab of gyro meat offering a carnivore’s dream straight to the dome. None of that fussy bread or vegetable matter comes between you and your meat-lust here. More tzatziki means – you got it – wander, dunk, and devour. 

West Indies Soul Jerk Pork Chop 

The better-known Peterson's Pork Chop on a stick gets a lot of love from experienced fairgoers, but how many know that a spicier, smokier chop awaits inside the Bazaar? 

The most excellent West Indies Soul has been selling their super-spicy Jamaican patties and jerk wings for years, but the hot, fatty, smoky, chop on a stick is a special, sleeper hit. Add a daub of scotch bonnet hot sauce for that real-deal Caribbean punch.

Mecca Bos is a Twin Cities-based food writer. She has an upcoming podcast called Snax Everywhere. Find her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

This story is part of our 2017 Minnesota State Fair Music, Food & Beer Guide.

Next Up

unsplash cold winter breath dark

Hello, winter: List of the coldest wind chills in MN Monday morning

The state went from a relatively mild start of the season, to downright frigid wind chills.

deer

1 CWD-positive deer in Brainerd Lakes area, so surveillance will continue

The CWD monitoring measures were supposed to end after this year.

unsplash - visitor patient doctor hospital emergency - crop

MN program will train, hire 1,000 nursing assistants for long-term care

The facilities are facing a severe staffing shortage.

Minnesota State Fair - main gate day 2021

Minnesota State Fair reestablishes a police department

The fair had been contracting with the Ramsey County Sheriff's Office.

teacher, covid, masks, school

Minnetonka to consider removing middle school mask requirement

The school board has been impressed by vaccination rates among middle school students.

snow, plow

Friday winter storm could hit Twin Cities, southern Minnesota

Meteorologist Sven Sundgaard is already monitoring the forecast.

Sauk Rapids Middle School street view, Minnesota - November 2018_

Teen student arrested for threats toward MN middle school

The Sauk Rapids middle school and high school were closed Monday.

_DSC0318

Rally for trans child outed during Hastings school board race draws big crowd

Hastings has been in the spotlight since the child's family was featured in a CNN story.

chad davis arradondo flickr

Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo to retire next month

He's overseen the MPD since mid-2017, following the killing of Justine Ruszczyk Damond

covid

Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Monday, December 6

The latest from the state health department.

2560px-Foo_Fighters_-_Southside_Festival_2019_4184_-_1

'Minneapolis, we're coming!!!': Foo Fighters announce rescheduled concert

The previously announced Huntington Bank Stadium was cancelled.

Related

5 hidden-gem foods at the Minnesota State Fair

Here are some surprisingly tasty options you might have missed.

5 underrated Minnesota State Fair foods

Here's a handful of gems you might have forgotten or never tried.

5 best classic Minnesota State Fair foods

This is the stuff that you crave before you even enter the gate.

5 new Minnesota State Fair foods actually worth trying

Once we got past the hype, here's the stuff we're going to eat.

We tried 10 tacos at the State Fair – which is the best?

This is what happens when the State Fair happens to tacos.

Minnesota State Fair 2017: The best music, food, beer & more

The ultimate guide to this year's Great Minnesota Get-Together.

We get it – you like Minnesota State Fair food

Here are your picks for the best foods at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

This is Minnesota’s best-kept fast food secret

A delicious foodie destination lurks on South Robert Street in West St. Paul.