WRAL.com at the State Fair

Taste Test -- Deep Fried Strawberries

Posted October 14, 2005

I'm a sucker for all the weird food that gets announced at the Fair every year. So this year I'm going to do several taste tests, sticking to the new and the unusual. We'll start it off with deep-fried strawberries, and I'll try to be impartial even though -- well, you'll find out in a minute.

Deep fried strawberries are brought to you by Thee Chili Express, purveyors of the Mashed Potato Martini, Fried Banana Puddin' Wrap, and now Deep Fried Strawberries. (They deep fry other fruits too, but I'll save those for a later article.) Fresh strawberries are dipped in batter, fried, covered in strawberry syrup, and handed to you as a kebob.

All well and good, so far. Thee Chili Express is located between Dorton Arena and the Grandstand, so I decided to walk over to the Grandstand for photos and a taste test. As I carried my food I was aware of a dripping sensation, but the crowd was too thick to investigate. As I sat down I looked over and discovered that the hand that held the kebob, my sleeve, the bottom of my shirt, and my pants were covered with strawberry syrup. I looked like a recently-massacred extra in a very cheap horror movie. Even as I ate the strawberries, extra syrup splatted ominously onto the concrete floor in the grandstand.

Needless to say the syrup accident distracted a bit from the taste test. I went ahead and ate the thing and mused on it as I cleaned up with the help of half-a-bottle of water and ten million napkins. The batter was light, but didn't add much. The syrup was good, but I was mostly wearing it. The strawberries themselves were extremely warm. They were kind of piquant that way; I've never had strawberries warmer than room temperature before. They held up well under the battering and frying, remaining solid instead of mushy.

The fried strawberries are an interesting taste, but might be better served in a bowl. If you get them I recommend you either ask them to go easy on the syrup, be far more careful than I was, wrap lots and LOTS of napkins around the end of the kebob, or wear clothes that you care absolutely nothing about.
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