GateHouse News ServiceWho knew there was a new way to make a sandwich?
Making its debut this year at the Illinois State Fair is the buca-wich, a 6-inch hoagie roll with filling stuffed into a grilled hole in the middle.
“It’s the only way to walk and eat,” said Shelly Newton of Des Moines, Iowa, a first-time vendor at the fair who runs the stand with her husband, Terry.
The Newtons have a handheld pole grill that toasts the inside of the hoagie. The roll is then filled with your choice of crawfish (with peppers and onions), Cajun steak, meatball (with red sauce), Italian sausage, peanut butter and jelly, tuna salad or chicken salad. A buca-wich with the first four fillings is $7; the cold fillings are $5.
“Buca” means “hole” or “pit” in Italian, Shelly said.
The buca-wich is one of the many new or unusual food items for sale at the 2012 Illinois State Fair. A few of the others:
* Deep-fried Thin Mint and Samoa cookies.
“They’re the same cookies made by the same company that makes them for the Girl Scouts,” said owner Abbas Zolghadr of Springfield, Ill. Each cookie is wrapped in thin dough and fried for 20 to 30 seconds. The Thin Mints are drizzled with chocolate, and the Samoas (chocolate-caramel-coconut cookies) get a caramel and coconut garnish. A bowl of three is $3.
Zolghadr said he got the idea from a vendor at the state fair in Texas. They were popular there, so he added them this year to his longtime concession stand.
“They taste wonderful,” he said.
* Something called moink balls. There’s no need to summon a doctor.
A moink ball is a beef meatball surrounded by bacon that is slow-smoked and drizzled with sweet barbecue sauce. Five moink balls on a stick is $7. The vendor is Justin Hargrove of Haskell, Okla.
Moink is a combination of the words “moo” and “oink”