From warm buckets of cookies in Minnesota to cheesecake on a stick in Florida, here are 13 food markets and fairs that you have to visit in your lifetime. The State Fair of Texas is home to the original corn dog, the beloved meat on a stick that Americans can’t get enough of. Fletcher’s Corny Dogs debuted the very first corn dog in 1938. Back then, they were giving away their Corny Dogs for free just to get people to try the unheard-of food. Now Fletcher’s is selling between 500,000 and 600,000 dogs a year.
There are more food vendors here than almost any other fair, so you can expect that all the classics will be covered, like old-school saltwater taffy at Sutter’s Taffy, funnel cakes that even double as burger buns, and fried everything.
The Arizona State Fair is the state’s largest public event, and it’s been dishing out classic fair foods since 1905. While some of the options may sound familiar, the sheer size of these foods is shocking. Fair foodies will be familiar with a good old-fashioned corn dog, but in Arizona, they make them by the foot. And the cinnamon buns aren’t shy on size either — or toppings.
Aside from its giant food options, it’s the hot and spicy foods that really make the Arizona State Fair stand out. Hot Cheeto-covered foods like turkey legs and even pickles are an Arizona delicacy. And all of them are layered with nacho cheese, of course. People have been flocking to the LA County Fair since 1922. In recent years, they featured 500 food vendors during a single fair.
They’ve got classics like giant turkey legs, rainbow popcorn, and fried Oreos, but also some things you’d have a hard time finding anywhere else. Fans of the fair love to post about these giant cones of extra-long curly fries from Biggy’s.
They start by spiralizing a lot of potatoes, then deep-fry them so they’re golden and crunchy. For another Instagrammable food, you can walk over to Nitro Treats to try their Unicorn’s Breath. It’s cereal balls dipped in liquid nitrogen, which makes smoke come out of your mouth and nose when you take a bite.
And you may have heard of chicken and waffles, but at the LA County Fair, Chicken Charlie’s takes chicken tenders, puts them on a stick, covers them in waffle batter, then voilà! Chicken and waffles on a stick. Pro tip: Ripping them in half will make it a little easier to eat. Brunch lovers flock to London’s dedicated Brunch Fest to celebrate all things eggs and pastry. Guests will find sweet and savory brunch foods like waffles, pancakes, and breakfast tacos.
All of these delicious breakfast favorites are topped with syrups, jams, and hot sauces galore. There are even plenty of vegan options, so there’s something for everyone. London’s best brunch spots come out to highlight their most-loved menu items and, of course, their booziest drinks.
A trip to the Bloody Mary bar, anyone? Or maybe you’ll have an espresso martini.
The Minnesota State Fair has been an institution in the Land of 10,000 Lakes for over 160 years. More than 2 million guests gather every year for treats like the infamous Sweet Martha’s cookies. It’s not unusual to see fairgoers walking around with buckets piled high with gooey chocolate chip cookies. Sweet Martha’s sells 1 million cookies per day on average. You might also catch a glimpse of equally massive buckets of french fries.
Fresh French Fries goes through roughly 30,000 pounds of fries per day, and they claim to be the freshest ever because they make them to order.
And if you see buckets of pickles, it’s not what you might think. These pickles have become what’s known at the Minnesota State Fair as pickle dogs. That’s a pickle smeared with cream cheese wrapped in pastrami. You can only find this wacky snack at the Minnesota State Fair.
The Queens Night Market is famous for its global selection of foods that represent over 20 different countries. It’s a major cultural event that has attracted vendors like The Malaysian Project, where burgers are wrapped in omelets. This signature Malaysian dish can be found all over its home country, but in Queens, New York, this stand is the only place making it.
The key is the homemade spicy mayo. Catmint Wheel Cake is another food stand showcasing a classic treat from abroad.
Wheel cakes are a traditional Taiwanese street food, and these handheld desserts are made right in front of your eyes. Meanwhile, Sam’s Fried Ice Cream is a New York food fair staple. Here, ice cream is coated in various toppings and fried until silky and crunchy. This market is the city’s best late-night spot to taste foods from all over the world. Each year during the holiday season, Manhattan’s Bryant Park transforms into a winter wonderland brimming with seasonal foods.
The star of the show is always the piping-hot raclette loaded onto sandwiches. You can never go wrong with a blanket of cheese on a chilly day. And that’s what you’ll find at Baked Cheese Haus, where they serve up the Alpine staple. If steaming cheese doesn’t make you toasty enough, you can finish off your meal with hot chocolate poured into chimney cakes. Chimney cakes are a traditional dessert from Hungary, and in Manhattan, they’re loading them up with melted chocolate and marshmallows.
With one of these in hand, there’s no better place for cozy treats than this during the city’s coldest months.
Orlando’s East End Market gives small makers an opportunity each year to show off their wares to the community. It’s how many Floridians discovered what’s known as the state’s best cookies. Gideon’s sells out of its super-chocolaty cookies every single day, but in the end, it’s worth it when you get your hands on this giant 800-calorie cookie that’s unlike any other.
And if that wasn’t sweet enough, guests can also find rainbow s’mores with handmade marshmallows.
Every element of these colorful marshmallows is crafted by hand, down to the aromatic vanilla extract. Even the graham crackers are handmade. If you’d like to add a little savory to your sweet, you can find a fried-chicken sandwich on a mochi doughnut bun at Dochi and Chicken Fire. It’s a super-Instagrammable dessert, but it’s the irresistible combo of crunchy and chewy textures that make this dish sell out every single day. Singapore is world-renowned for its street food, and it all comes together at the city’s open-air food markets called hawker centers.
Nestled in the Chinatown Complex Food Centre is a Michelin-star-rated food stall, Hawker Chan, which is world-renowned for its chicken. Chef Chan Hon Meng was the very first chef to ever be awarded a Michelin star for street food and has since become world famous. Most other stalls in the market also make their foods fresh while you wait and are known to showcase a variety of cuisines from all over the region. For foodies looking to bundle up in search of unique treats, Quebec’s Winter Carnival is a celebration of snow and ice.
This is where you can find the famous maple taffy.
Hot syrup is poured over snow and rolled up with a stick to make a uniquely Canadian candy. Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup in the entire world, so it’s no wonder they found this extra-sweet way to make a unique dessert. And a trip to a Canadian food fair wouldn’t be complete without some warm and gooey poutine. At the Winter Carnival, you can get it from Le Bistro SAQ, where they make the traditional french fries with cheese curds and gravy on the spot. Finally, in the spirit of uniquely Canadian cuisine, there are the BeaverTails.
No need for alarm — they are only fried dough in the shape of a beaver’s tail, and much sweeter than the real thing.
They’re covered with cinnamon sugar and a whole slew of other inventive toppings. All six New England states come together for this yearly festival to show off their best foods. The most iconic treat is the giant Big E cream puff. It’s easily the No.
1 stop at the fair, and approximately 5,000 cream puffs are sold each day. Guests can watch them being made before diving into the fair’s fluffiest dessert. It’s a bit of a challenge to eat but worth every messy bite. The only thing bigger than the puffs is the giant 1-pound meatball at Frigo’s.
Three generations of Frigo’s have been making these humongous meatballs since 1950.
It started out as a bit of a prank, but now it’s one of the most beloved dishes in New England. The Miami County Fair is all about the dessert. Every spring, vendors chef up sweet treats, like cheesecake slices dipped in blue raspberry chocolate and maple-glazed doughnuts served by the bucket. The cheesecakes at Polar Bear Ice Cream are dunked into all flavors of chocolate and coated in sprinkles right alongside the soft serves. Meanwhile, the maple-glazed doughnuts are sprayed with nearly endless amounts of cinnamon and sugar.
And, of course, you can’t forget the giant funnel cakes. They’re topped with powdered sugar and cream cheese before getting loaded with strawberry jam. Smorgasburg is a summer staple in New York City that showcases some of the city’s most daring and dazzling food creations. New Instagrammable delicacies are debuted each year to take social media by storm. Famous treats include the spaghetti doughnut, toasted meringue ice cream, and stunning mango flowers.
Take the spaghetti doughnut as the perfect example of a social-media showstopper. When they were debuted by Pop Pasta, it was a take on a traditional Neapolitan spaghetti pie.
It took on a life of its own when it went viral and began to garner the longest lines of the market. Also with tons of social-media fame, you can find the toasted meringue ice cream, which is as visual as it is fluffy and sweet. It’s a unique warm-and-cold combo beloved by New Yorkers.