The biggest complaint about Arkansas State Fair
food is that it's unhealthy. That's not completely true. There are a good number of items you can find at this year's fair that aren't deep fried, battered or covered in chocolate. Have I piqued your interest?
Let's start off with some entree options that are lower in fact (and not fried) you might enjoy. The Feed Trough, located off the far end of the Midway, carries two of these items. The first is the Rabbit Sandwich. Last year, the folks who run the Feed Trough listened when people commented on the BBQ Rabbit Sandwiches they were offering. The comment was yes, having rabbit is great but since it was simmered in barbecue sauce you really couldn't tell it was rabbit meat. Not this year. You go get yourself a rabbit sandwich, it's rabbit on a bun. You can invite barbecue sauce to the party — it's offered on the side. It's juicy and delicious and I'll be going to get myself some of that.
Feed Trough is also offering Cabritas Wraps again. These are tortillas full of roasted goat meat — which is going to be lower in fat than beef or pork. They offer it with the barbecue sauce as well, and with chopped tomatoes and lettuce— which is how I like it. To get down to the Feed Trough, head to the end of the Midway (by the Swine Barn), turn left and follow the road up the hill and around the turn. The Feed Trough will be the last yellow trailer on the right.
It's not the only place to find some good healthy eating. I'd like to call Paizi's Gyros into play. I mean, seriously, vegetables in a pita. You got green leaf lettuce, a little spinach, some red and white onion ringlets, black olives, big pieces of tomato — all which has been sauteed on a griddle together to bring the flavors out. A little Feta cheese, a drizzle of tzatziki sauce, all tucked into a pita. Not bad. You can also have it with one of the roasted meats like the Rosemary Garlic Chicken — still not deep fried and certainly not covered in chocolate.
If you want to really get down to brass tacks and eat something that's not going to really affect your caloric intake for the day, you can go to the Silver Bullet Saloon (the red building right over by the Hall of Industry) and order up some celery and carrots. It comes with Ranch dressing. You don't have to eat the dressing.
There's also the grilled watermelon at the Steakhouse stand right next to the steps of the Hall of Industry. Everyone's talking about the fact these folks are also battering and deep frying watermelon — but they'll make up a grilled watermelon chunk for you, too. Somehow grilling it makes it sweeter.
How about some corn? No, not caramel corn or kettle corn or even a deep fried cob of corn — but the plain and simple goodness of an ear of corn, roasted. You can get yourself an ear of fresh roasted corn from Ray's Southern Corn (one location in the Food Court, the other close to the end of the Midway). They'll roast you up fresh hot corn by itself, no butter or salt or anything if you don't want it. Personally, I like hot corn on the cob by itself, especially if it's sweet corn (which this is).
Some would argue that a turkey leg is healthy — and I suppose it is, as long as you share it with someone else or take home more than half of it. Them turkey legs are big.
You can even drink low-calorie at the fair. The Arkansas State Fair is good about having a lot of bottled water options out there. Several places also offer unsweet tea, including the Big Show Diner and the Hot Beef Sundae folks. Want a frou-frou drink? Those great lemon, lime, orange and cherry Texas Twister beverages also come in a Splenda version — which, I have to say, was a huge relief after all the sugary things I had to try on the fairgrounds.
Wondering where these locations are? Here's the official Arkansas State Fair food map.