A Foodie's Guide to the East Texas State Fair



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East Texas State Fair — in its final days this weekend — is known for great entertainment, amazing shows, and thrilling carnival rides, but what brings most people to the Tyler fairgrounds is the legendary food. The fair has a plethora of tasty treats at every turn! From the delectable samosas from Crazy Samosa, to the always great homemade pies from Trinity Lutheran, there's something for everyone to enjoy.

In a survey done last year, when fairgoers were asked "What brought you to the fair?" an overwhelming 72 percent said the "fair food." With all this demand for the great food at the East Texas State Fair, here’s a guide for getting the most out of your quest for fair food.

A new favorite for fairgoers is LeBlanc's Cajun Cuisine. At this New Orleans style dive you'll find bourbon street favorites like boudin balls, crab cakes, etoufe, crawfish pies, and catfish and shrimp baskets. It's a spicy, flavorful Cajun experience you don't want to miss.

Speaking of Cajun, the Seafood Cajun Express, located across from the petting zoo is another great food vendor with a gulf coast taste. With an Asian background, cook Randy Phan puts an Asian spin on this Cajun eatery. You can try alligator on a stick, pork chop on a stick, and delicious egg rolls. It's also home to a favorite snack for many: fried pickles.

Right next to Seafood Cajun Express is a fun desert option that's new to the fair, and to Tyler. Cool Clouds, which just opened a permanent location on Broadway, will be serving its nitrogen frozen ice cream, which they freeze right before your eyes. Pick your ingredients, and watch the magic happen!

Another great fair favorite is The Crazy Samosa. A samosa is a type of fried pie with a savory filling, in this case available in chicken, beef, and pulled pork. Also available from The Crazy Samosa is the famous Wild Dog, a deep fried hotdog with barbecue sauce, and the Texa-Kenyan Taco, a saucy, tangy twist on a classic Texas taco. At The Crazy Samosa, your order may take a little longer because everything is made fresh, completely from scratch, but most fairgoers agree that it's worth the wait.

New this year, right by the dinner tent is Paleteria Polar with fresh fruit mixes for a lighter option. Take this treat to the next level by topping it with chili powder and lime salt.

Venturing off of food row, you can find these two great hidden gems for some great desserts. The first is located inside of building "C" which serves as a staging area for groups, a meeting room, and a great place to sit in the air conditioning. However, the best part about building "C" is the concession ran by State Park Grocery and its homemade fudge and gelato. It's a favorite among the staff and volunteers at the fair. Cross the road, around the stage, and in the south entrance of Harvey Convention Center you'll find Amelia's Sweetery, a local vendor with delicious cakes and pastries. Its chocolate covered cake balls are always a fairgoer’s favorite.

Don't let your friend's diet slow you down, Greebriar Foods by the Dining Tent has some great salads. It’s also home to fish nuggets (with amazing homemade tartar sauce) along with great burgers and chicken fried steaks.

One of the guest's favorites is Smokinlikeyalikeit with a cowboy mignon drizzled in Vidalia onion sauce, a completely unique and utterly tasty smoked meatloaf sandwich, stuffed 'taters, tamales, or always great kickin' chicken.

Of course there's no shortage of the traditional fair food. Check out Big Tex, the largest and most easily recognizable stand for some great fair favorites like turkey legs and corn dogs. And you can't come to the fair without enjoying a funnel cake, so stop by Porter's, with two locations on food row.

The East Texas State Fair is located in the heart of the Rose City Complex on Front Street, Tyler. For details, or to purchase your tickets visit etstatefair.com. 

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