Fair Food Rankings

Our culinary adventure through the Coastal Carolina Fair

This past weekend we ventured into the Coastal Carolina Fair. A palooza of neon lights, rides, games, but most importantly the highest level of culinary invention known to man. The options can be overwhelming as it seems that every booth has their own version of curly fries and “fresh-squeezed” lemonade. But do not fret, we took one for the team and bore the stomach aches for you all with the mission of finding the best food at the fair. 


Strawberry Lemonade: 8/10

The first thing we did when we got to the fair was go on the first exciting ride we saw. Unfortunately, this was a huge mistake. Leila watched from the sidelines as Ellyse and Sarah were face to face with death on the spinning ride known as the Hurricane. When they stepped off, they were not the same as when they went on. They needed some sugar in their system ASAP!! We had seen people walking around with collectible strawberry lemonade cups and Leila had to have one. Fortunately, we saw the oasis that was the lemonade tent within walking distance and they had the cups. We ordered one large one and shared it amongst ourselves. It certainly did the job of quenching Elena and Ellyses thirst and I (Leila) could see life enter their eyes again. However, Leila was left disappointed. Although very tasty, it needed to be sourer- lemonade has to have a sourness to it. Leila also like it icier, however, she recognizes that she enjoys an unusual amount of ice in her drinks and did not penalize the beverage. However, the strawberry cup it came in definitely elevated the experience. Lemonade was a 6.5/10, but with the cup a solid 8. 


Sarah: Although I do not usually go for fair lemonade because it usually tastes heavily of powdered concentrate, this lemonade was good. Although it wasn’t freshly squeezed I swear it tasted close to it. Ellyse and I really enjoyed this drink, but Leila thought that it needed to be sourer. Leila is obsesseddd with strawberry everything so the lemonade cup made it her day, definitely bumping it up a couple of points. 


Popcorn: 5/10

The next thing we got was some salty popcorn to balance out the sweet lemonade. ٌWe bought a bag from the first stand we saw, as our bodies were still weak from being twirled around on the ride. Although it did accomplish this goal, the popcorn was nothing special, especially for the high price tag. Additionally, it did have quite a strange salty aftertaste which we could not identify. In conclusion, it did the job, but would not recommend it.


Pickle Pizza: 100000/10

We were all walking around looking for our next ride when Sarah pointed out to Leila a sign advertising PICKLE PIZZA, knowing there is nothing Leila loves more than pickles. Ellyse, another avid pickle fan, expressed excitement as well. Leila had seen a TikTok about pickle pizza from a Pickle Festival and was disappointed she would never be able to try such culinary delight and genius. However, her dreams came true. The pizza was on display near the window and it looked very intriguing. It appeared to be a white pizza with pickle chips scattered over the top. Usually, Leila is not a fan of white pizzas, preferring a pie with a substantial saucy layer, however, the lack of sauce in this slice is definitely what makes the flavors harmonize together. The total was a whopping $9 for a single slice and Leila’s bank account was hoping it would be worth it. And it DEFINITELY was. Upon taking the first bite, Leila was in pure pickle euphoria and was shocked at how good it was. Literally a cinematic moment. Ellyse then took her bite and her reaction was extraordinary. She jumped backward and exclaimed how delicious it was. Even the skeptics observing from the sidelines were curious and wanted a bite. And we are happy to report even the initial haters admitted that it was surprisingly delicious. Lilly Skinner, a senior and notorious picky eater, tore off a small corner and gave it a positive review. Sarah, the ultimate skeptic, tried a bite, and initially said “eh”, which was extremely invalid because she had tried a piece with no pickle! We demanded she try it again, properly, and she did recant her initial statement, also becoming a fan. 


Fried Mushrooms: 7/10

After a few more rides, it was time to peruse the food stand loop all the way around the lake. Last year, we saw a booth with fried mushrooms and needed to come back this year to try them. We arrived at the yellow and green Dr. Veggie stand with images of smiling veggies plastered to the exterior. We got one order that was a surprisingly good portion and came with a side of ranch.  They were steaming hot and the little mushrooms seemed promising. Upon trying, there were mixed reviews. Sarah and Ellyse thought they weren’t mushroomy enough and that the fried exterior overpowered the filling. For this reason, they gave them a 7/10. It was a bit of a letdown especially since they both love mushrooms. However, Leila could taste the mushrooms and liked how crispy they were.


Curly Fries:6/10

Ellyse is a curly fry FIEND and she would not rest till we found some. We arrived at a booth with a giant sign that reached the sky with an image of a curly fry basket that was definitely not life-size and was probably bigger than a small car. Ellyse was very excited because the image looked both delicious and well-seasoned, and the aroma from the booth was enticing. However, they did not live up to Ellyse’s dream…. At all. While the image advertised thick fries, what we were delivered was more reminiscent of shoestring fries that were vaguely curly. Leila was pleasantly surprised, as she loves shoestring fries, but Ellyse and Sarah were left looking for more and it did not satisfy their curly fry craving. They claimed they were too dry. We all did agree that they definitely needed more salt. If you like shoestring fries, look no further. But for all the curly fry stans out there, keep searching. 


Sushi Burrito: 11/10

Earlier in the day, I(Ellyse) saw a food truck that advertised a sushi burrito I had been on the hunt for quite a while-she vowed to come back later and try it. Later in the day, I went back for dinner. Luckily, I got the last one which made her feel special and enhanced the entire experience. Now I may be biased because I absolutely love both sushi and burritos, but the sushi burrito was beyond amazing. It looked so delicious, and the taste was perfect. There was a mix of flavors, and although I’m usually not a shrimp type of person, the crab-shrimp meat on the inside tasted really yummy. I absolutely loved the spicy mayo provided on the side, and the eel sauce on top. If you know me, you know I absolutely cannot eat certain things without sauce, so sauces are a necessity. I dipped each bite of the burrito in the spicy mayo sauce, and it was an absolute delight. The crunch covering the burrito really added texture too. It was also really filling, and the price compared to the measly portions of the other food items at the fair was not bad($15), also given the quality of it. Senior Elena Yu had different opinions on the burrito, saying that “something about it is off. I don’t know what though.”. Keep in mind that she typically prefers salmon over tuna in her sushi. 


Fried Oreos: 8/10

You can’t go to the fair without getting something ridiculous fried, and we decided to go with the classic: fried oreos. Again, although I (Sarah) am not a huge fan of fried food, I really liked these. They were the perfect sweet dessert to compliment the salty fries and sushi burrito we got. The texture was amazing; they were soft but not too gooey. There were about 6 fried oreos per order, so they were great to share (steal) with friends. I really like them and highly recommend them especially if you are looking for something beyond the classic funnel cakes. 


Blooming Onion:8/10

Right before leaving, Leila was extremely hungry and wanted dinner, but we were in a rush to leave soon. So, she just went to the nearest stand, which happened to be another fried veggie stand. A common trend we witnessed at the fair was the booths having display baskets at the window where you could get a visual menu of what they had to offer. At this particular establishment, they had a giant fried “blooming” onion that looked very good and seemed to be what everyone was ordering. Leila ordered one and only had to wait a few minutes, where she stood mesmerized by the process of “blooming” the onion and watching it being dipped into vats of sizzling oil. When she received her onion, she, unfortunately, forgot to ask for the creamy sauce that was offered and was forced to enjoy it with basic ketchup. The first bite was so good, it was probably like the crispiest thing we had ever had; Leila loves onion rings and crispy tried things so she loved it. However, Sarah and Ellyse thought there was too much of the bready fry stuff. This did not bother Leila, however as she quite enjoys that part and it was just so crispy. However, as she devoured the onion, she did start to grow tired of the fried root vegetable and needed water desperately. Additionally, she did bite into some onion skins which were not enjoyable and bumped down the experience.


Caramel Apple: 6/10

In very Fia fashion, after a long day of sweet and salty fair food, she wanted fruit to cleanse. Although these apples had amazing designs and vibrant colors they were somewhat deceiving. The caramel exterior was very hard, almost causing her to choke. If there was less caramel then it would have been a solid 7/10 but unfortunately, she gave it a 6/10. If you are looking for something more healthy, I highly suggest going to the Playa Bowl food truck where you can get some refreshing smoothies and bowls.


Fried Cheese (Tina Liu 12th):

you don’t need 7 cubes of this crap”

— Tina

Tina proclaimed that the fried cheese was good, but the number of cubes was unnecessary. She claims “fried cheese is fried cheese-it does what you want it to do”. As we all know Tina for keeping things direct and humorous though, she also said “you don’t need 7 cubes of this crap”. In addition, Tina has an entirely personal story with fried cheese- her and fried cheese go way back she says. 2018 was the first time Tina got fried cheese at the fair and ever since then she tries to get it every time. Adding to the irony of this though, Tina is actually lactose intolerant.


Gyro(lamb) Sarah Roop(12th)- 6/10 

It’s pretty good she said, but she wouldn’t necessarily be excited to eat it again. Following her rating, I questioned her, as she seemed to be enjoying the gyro perfectly fine, yet she gave it a measly 6/10. However, this then got our whole group into an argument about what the food rating scale actually entails, and to Sarah and Willa Wiley, a 6/10 is a pretty decent rating. This just goes to show that the rating scale can be a pretty risky way to go- but at least we have justifications under them- because this could definitely cause confusion.

Other ratings:

Chocolate-covered banana (Maria Cymbalyuk): 6/10

Fiske Fries (Sarah Roop): 10/10- put salt and vinegar

Pepperoni Pizza (Lily Cate Hunter): 10/10

Regular Lemonade: 9/10