Aug 24, 2023 - State Fair

The best, worst and weirdest 2023 new Minnesota State Fair foods

Cheesecake curds, mini doughnuts, cheese curd tacos, and a pickle doughnut. Photos: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

I journeyed to the Minnesota State Fair on opening day Thursday with three detailed maps, two friends, and a goal: beat my 2022 record by trying at least 20 of the new foods and drinks.

  • That includes every single new pickle-themed food on the list, like lemonade, cheese curd tacos, and fudge.

What happened: For better or for worse, I succeeded β€” and went above and beyond at 22 items.

How I did it: I narrowed my list of what to eat based on the food's originality but also picked some β€” like pickle tacos β€” because they had already attracted public attention. A few items were simply ones that I was personally interested in.

Here's what I thought, and be sure to check out our Instagram for reviews of every item.

Get it

Photos of tacos, a small pie and a steamed bun.
Dill pickle cheese curd tacos, MinneCookieDough pie, and galabao. Photos: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

MinneCookieDough Pie from Minneapple Pie ($10)

  • The crispy fried hand pie came piping hot with melting cookie dough inside and was accompanied by a delicious cinnamon ice cream. It was our favorite dish of the day.

Galabao from Union Hmong Kitchen ($12)

  • The traditional Hmong-style steamed bun was pleasantly sweet and complemented by the savory ground pork, egg, and spices inside, though I did find myself wishing for more filling.

Dill Pickle Cheese Curd Tacos from Richie's Cheese Curd Tacos ($14)

  • I lauded the classic curd tacos as a fair staple when they debuted last year, and the pickle version might be even better. It has just the right amount of dill flavor without being overwhelming.

Boozy Salted Caramel Milkshake at Andy's Grille ($10)

  • I couldn't put this down. Though it's 5% ABV, all you can taste is milkshake and the caramel spoon was a nice touch. (The Dreamsicle Slushy at the same stand was also a favorite.)

Consider it

Tacos, ravioli and a lobster bowl.
Crispy lutefisk steam buns, fried butternut squash ravioli, and loaded lobster fries. Photos: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

Loaded Lobster Fries from Cafe Caribe ($15)

  • The large amount of lobster throughout the bowl made up for the slightly soggy fries.

Fried Butternut Squash Ravioli from Oodles of Noodles ($10)

  • The sweet and creamy dipping sauce (whipped ricotta) brought this dish from good to great, though $10 for only four small ravioli was hard to stomach.

Crispy Lutefisk Steam Bun from Shanghai Henri's ($14)

  • But the lutefisk was crispy and flavorful, while the carrot slaw inside brought a welcome hint of sweetness.

Skip it

Lemonade, a charcuterie board and cheese sticks.
Pickle lemonade, charcuterie, and hot honey cheese sticks. Photos: Audrey Kennedy/Axios

Hot Honey Cheese Sticks from The Blue Barn ($11)

  • The dry texture already ruined these, but paying $11 for only seven small cheese sticks made them even worse.

Pickle Lemonade from Nordic Waffles ($6)

  • The drink wasn't mixed properly, so it tasted like regular lemonade until it turned to pickle juice at the very bottom. Both were bad.

Sorta-cuterie Board from Sabino's Pizza Pies ($14)

  • Great presentation, mediocre execution, high price. Plus, a charcuterie board isn't the easiest thing to eat at a state fair.

Dill Pickle Donut from Fluffy's ($8)

  • This was an unofficial new food that I wish I had never tried. The donut tasted like bread, the pickle slices were soft and the room-temperature cream cheese on top was nauseating and the only fair food I've ever spit out.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Twin Cities stories

No stories could be found

Twin Citiespostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more