North Carolina State Fair

A Taste Test: Shrimp Dog

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Shrimp Dog

The line of food booths across from Kiddieland has evolved into a tucked-away funky food section. Funkier than deep fried whatever? Let's just say different, then. You can get the regular sausages and funnel cakes here, but also on this row, you can get great root beer floats, BBQ sundaes, livers (!), deep fried Girl Scout cookies (more about those later), and more, including shrimp dogs.

One of my favorite things about trying new Fair foods is I can never imagine what a food is going to look like when I first hear about it. Is a shrimp dog a bunch of shrimp on a bun? Seafood in a tube? Wrong on both counts. If you head over to the booth to the left of the root beer float booth (it's called Chester's Gators), you can get a shrimp dog for $6. It's the first year at the Fair for these new offerings, which are basically corndogs with shrimp instead of hot dogs.

When the lady at the booth handed me the shrimp dog, she offered some cocktail sauce. I turned her down, imagining how much of a mess I could make walking around with a shrimp dog covered with cocktail sauce. I regretted that when I sat down and tasted it. Don't get me wrong, the breading was great, a bit sweet and fresh, and the shrimp were huge.

The problem was how bland it was! I like my shrimp with cocktail or tartar sauce, and my hushpuppies (ersatz corndog breading) with a bit of butter. I was definitely missing the condiments here. With some cocktail sauce or maybe even a little Texas Pete, the shrimp dog would be a tasty treat. Plain, it needs something extra.

Even if you decide to give the shrimp dog a miss, don't pass by Chester's Gators when you're in Kiddieland. It also offers shark kabobs that don't need any condiments at all -- spiced just right and very tasty!

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