Since his fried Coke won the Big Tex Choice Award for most creative food at last year’s State Fair of Texas, the reaction has come from all sides for neighborhood resident Abel Gonzales. The Tonight Show invited him on to discuss his creation, and a Kuwaiti businessman expressed a desire to turn the fried Coke into a Middle Eastern junk food staple. Journalists from around the world called to get his opinions on strange Texas eating habits, and fried Coke began appearing at fairs as far away as Canada, where he says the dish has become a sensation. And then there was the advice. “I had a whole lot of suggestions on what to do this year,” Gonzales says. “One person suggested I do fried popsicles, which doesn’t make much sense when you think about it. Fried bugs were something that was suggested a lot. Like fried crickets, maybe ants … But when my boss suggested fried cookie dough, something clicked.” By acting on that suggestion, Gonzales wound up netting this year’s coveted Big Tex Choice Award for the best-tasting new food. While he doesn’t expect his deep-fried cookie dough will attract as much attention as last year’s concoction, he believes it might catch on among fair-goers a bit more. “It’s not really gimmicky or anything,” says Gonzales, though he hesitates to describe his past creations of fried Coke and fried peanut butter, jelly and banana sandwiches in those terms. “They’re just really good. I’m surprised no one’s made them before.”

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.