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Fried Kool-Aid is so last year: Fried bubblegum frighteningly ups the crazy food ante

News_Fried Bubblegum
Most creative: Fried bubblegum Photo by Justin Martinez/Dallas
News_State Fair_fried buffalo chicken flapjack
Best tasting: Fried buffalo chicken in a flapjack Courtesy of
News_State Fair_fried pineapple upside down cake
Another favorite: Fried pineapple upside-down cake Photo by Abel Gonzales Jr.

Just when you think nothing can top the weird factor of fried Kool-Aid, the State Fair of Texas goes one steps further and gives a coveted Big Tex Award to fried bubblegum.

The State Fair doesn't kick off until September 30, but this year's vendors entered their most creative and delicious new concoctions, and fried bubblegum earned the top spot for "most creative."

There's no actual bubblegum in the dish — the brainchild of vendor Justin Martinez —just bubblegum-flavored marshmallows dipped in batter, fried and covered in icing and powdered sugar. (Click here for video of the fried bubblegum being made.)

"It does not work to fry bubblegum," Martinez told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "It doesn't taste good, and you can't chew it." Well, that saves us a sad afternoon of gum chemistry experiments.

Those preferring taste over novelty could pick up the Buffalo chicken in a flapjack, which got the Big Tex Award for best taste. It's a "buffalo chicken strip . . . coated in flapjack batter, rolled in jalapeno bread crumbs, deep fried to a golden brown, skewed, and served with a side of syrup."

"It mixes the sweet and spicy," creator Allan Weiss told the Star-Telegram. "It's a great combination."

Other State Fair food finalists include a deep fried pineapple upside down cake, fried Autumn pie (pumpkin, cream cheese and fall spices in a puff pastry fried and rolled in ginger, cinnamon and sugar), a portable taco served in a Doritos' bag, trademarked "deep fried Texas salsa", Hans' Kraut Ball (browned pork sausage, onion, garlic, sauerkraut, mustard and seasonings in a ball, coated with bread crumbs, and deep fried), as well as my personal favorite, a dish called El Bananarito, a deep fried banana rolled in a flour tortilla and topped with whipped cream, powdered sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and either caramel or chocolate syrup.

Now that's worth a heart attack and an early death, amirite? Which finalist dish do you want to try? (Please don't say fried bubblegum.) And what festival has better fair food, the State Fair or the Houston Rodeo?

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