Publish date:

Minnesota State Fair Food Guide 2018: The best new foods to try, and one to miss

Food writer Haley Nelson sampled some of the new dishes on offer this year.

Part of the fun of visiting the Minnesota State Fair is trying new foods.

Scratch that.

Most of the fun of visiting the Minnesota State Fair is trying new foods, at least for me.

This year 27 new dishes have been introduced to the fair, and they're all over the place in terms of flavor, cuisine, size, and price.

I was at the State Fair on Thursday to try some of the new creations, and have come away with four favorites, and one to miss. 

UpNorth Puff Pasty

Upnorth pasty

And we have a winner!

I loved everything about the UpNorth Puff Pasty: The flaky crust. The sausage, cheese, and pickle filling. The mustard.

If you're unfamiliar with the concept of a pasty (pronounced pas-tee), it's a folded, baked pastry with a savory filling.

Do yourself a favor and pick up one of these while you’re in the Food Building.

Where to find it: Sausage Sister & Me, Food Building, east wall.

Sweetie Cakes

Sweetie cakes 2

The warm bowls (yes bowls) of cake at Sweetie Cakes don’t disappoint.

The cakes are served warm (which makes any dessert better!) and are reminiscent of a mug cake: Crumbly and moist.

I tried the chocolate peanut butter cake, which was flecked with delicious, sticky pieces of homemade toffee. It was all topped off with a big dollop of whipped cream which quickly melted into the warm cake.

Where to find it: Sweetie Cakes, Food Building, south wall

Bacon-Stuffed Tots

Bacon tots 2

The bacon-stuffed tots at The Blue Barn was advertised as a new food on its menu, but they’re not on the official State Fair food list. #confusing

In any case, a new food is a new food.

And this is exactly the type of thing I love to get at the fair.

The bacon-stuffed tots are large, crispy, and bacon-y. And the bacon-infused sour cream is right on point.

Where to find it: The Blue Barn at West End Market.

Get all of BMTN's State Fair content on Flipboard.

Firecracker Shrimp Stuffed Avocado

Firecracker shrimp avocado

The Hideaway Speakeasy's shrimp-stuffed avocado isn’t typically what I think of when I think of fair food.

But I tried it, and I liked it, and I’d get it again. It’s a good size for sharing, which helps justify the rather hefty, $14 price tag.

It’s a nice break from heavy fried food. And the Grandstand Veranda is right outside of the speakeasy, which is a lovely place to sit and relax for awhile.

Where to find it: The Hideaway Speakeasy, in the Veranda, Grandstand upper level, north west section.

And the one to miss

Nordic Waffles

Nordic waffles

When I looked at the list of new foods at the fair, Nordic Waffles was at the top of my list to try.

My visit to Nordic Waffles was my last stop of the day. I wasn’t too hungry, so I ordered the berries and crème waffle, thinking it might be a little lighter than some of their savory flavors.

I can’t say I didn’t like it, because it wasn’t bad. But I kept thinking, "I just paid $8 for this?!"

It was a light, hand-held waffle with a small dollop of whipped cream inside, and a bit of berry-flavored syrup. I was expecting fresh berries, but there were none.

Most of the time I was just eating waffle, except when I got to the bottom where all of the melted whipped cream and syrup had set.

Where to find it: Nordic Waffles, West End Market, southwest section.

You can read more of Haley Nelson's writing at her website, Cheap Recipe Blog.

You can find all of Bring Me The News' State Fair stories in the Flipboard magazine below.

Next Up

Mar'Keise Irving / Gopher Football

Gophers pound Maryland to stay in Big Ten West race

Four different players scored a rushing touchdown in a 34-16 victory over Maryland.

Father Paul Kubista at St. Mary of Czestochowa

Controversy after Delano priest shares vaccine misinformation in church bulletin

Father Paul Kubista is pastor at St. Mary of Czestochowa Catholic Church.


Mel-O-Glaze, DreamHaven Books robbed at gunpoint minutes apart

The businesses were hit by three robbers just six minutes apart on Oct. 21.

Cambridge house explosion

Explosion destroys house in Cambridge, 5 injured

The explosion occurred early Saturday morning on the 33000 block of Hillary Circle.


Charges: Lyft driver sexually assaulted woman in her home

The defendant is being held on a $100,000 bond.

Pixabay - black bear

Black bear bites professional baseball player in western Wisconsin

The former MSU-Mankato star was bitten in his back.

mickey moore driver's license shared

Beleaguered Ward 9 city council candidate loses Strib endorsement

Mickey Moore has faced questions in recent days about where he actually lives.

CDC biohazard scientist health work

New clue may explain how rare tropical disease sickened Minnesotan

The disease, known as melioidosis, killed 2 people earlier this year.

Sen Mark Koran crop

MN lawmaker encourages donations for locals charged in Jan. 6 insurrection

"They are a good family!" Sen. Mark Koran wrote Friday.


State Fair

Minnesota State Fair 2021: The best new foods

Our food writer Haley Nelson picks out her favorite new dishes at the State Fair.

State Fair Food Guide: The classics you have to try

Haley Nelson picks out the must-try classics.

Screen Shot 2021-08-28 at 10.57.53 AM

Minnesota State Fair 2021: The best food options that avoid the crowds

Food writer Haley Nelson has been looking for foods off the beaten track.

Vegan and vegetarian choices

Minnesota State Fair 2021: The best vegetarian and vegan options

Our food writer Haley Nelson has identified some top meat-free options.

State fair new foods

State Fair 2019: New foods you have to try, and some you shouldn't

Guest food writer Haley Nelson reveals her pick of the bunch.

Minnesota State Fair Food Guide: Don't miss these hidden gems

They don't get the headlines, but maybe they should.

State Fair Food Guide: The best food and drink bargains

A day at the fair can be expensive, but there are bargains to be had.


State Fair 2019: Surviving the fair on nothing but free samples

Food writer Haley Nelson made a beeline for the sample heaven at the Grandstand.