Weirdest Foods Served at Sporting Events
Sports concessionaires go out of their way to serve weird offerings to local fans. They create hybrid foodstuffs that don’t exist in nature. Case in point: pulled-pork donut sandwiches.
Some stadiums around the world serve local favorites, albeit acquired tastes like alligator, chicken feet and toasted grasshoppers.
Then there’s presentation. Nearly every American sports palace serves nachos. But at Seattle Seahawks football games, they come in a KFC-like bucket. At Anaheim Angels baseball games, the chips and cheese come in a life-size plastic batting helmet. And yes, people finish their nachos and wear the hat for the last two innings of the game.
While basic nachos are far too mainstream to be included in a list of weird concession foods, here are 15 appetizers, main courses and desserts that belong on this offbeat menu.
Let’s face it, if you’re in Bangkok to catch the Muay Thai boxing matches at Lumpinee Stadium, you’re going to want to look tough. That means if you’re hungry, you don’t risk looking dainty by pecking away at a bag of popcorn. You find a place that’s hawking alligator.
Muay Thai fighters are in the ring beating and kicking the daylights out of each other. That kind of environment calls for walking up to a mobile alligator vendor and getting in the spirit by gnashing your teeth into the skewered, cooked meat of an animal that would bite your leg off if challenged in the wild.
Apple Pie Nachos
The old television ad claimed nothing was as American as “baseball, hotdogs, apple pie and Chevrolet.” Country-proud citizens can drive to Coors Field and watch the Colorado Rockies play baseball and eat a good ol’ hot dog. You can also show an appreciation for diversity by turning to Apple Pie Nachos for dessert.
These dessert nachos come in a bowl filled with cinnamon chips and apple slices. It’s covered in caramel sauce and whipped cream. The cheddar cheese topping is optional. It’s gooey and messy — so wash up afterward. You wouldn’t want to leave any stains on the interior of your Chevy.
Bad to the Bone Bologna
The most hardcore fans of the Cleveland Browns football team sit in a section of FirstEnergy Stadium called the Dawg Pound. They dress up and woof cheer like dogs for their underperforming NFL team. Why not unleash a concession offering for them that plays on the doggie theme?
Behold the Bad to the Bone Bologna. This soft-roll sandwich is filled with fried, all-beef bologna cut into the shape of dog bones. It’s topped with American cheese, pickles and a secret spicy sauce. It comes with chips and a bologna cheese sauce. Here, boy.
Battle Red Tacos
NRG Stadium is home to the NFL’s Houston Texans. Football fans are known to have hearty appetites, which is why the non-jumbo-sized Battle Red Tacos are a bit of a puzzler, though hardly any less ridiculous than many other entries on this list.
A trio of soft flour tortilla shells are filled with chicken tenders that are crusted with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos. Yes, the crispy/cheesy snack food that leaves your fingers bright orange. The chicken-and-Cheetos combo is artfully topped by mango pico de gallo and Sriracha mayonnaise.
Brisket Potato Waffle
Nobody is — or should be — counting calories at sporting events. So if you’re out on the town at the AT&T Center to catch some NBA action featuring the San Antonio Spurs, watch the scoreboard and not your waistline and order a Brisket Potato Waffle.
The “waffle” is made of crispy hash browns. This base is topped by your choice of bacon, pulled pork and bacon, or chopped brisket. Sour cream and cheese are toppings available to be heaped on. You are dared to order this along with a Diet Coke.
Brunch Bloody Mary
People tend to go overboard these days with the accouterments they add to Bloody Marys. That trend has spilled over to Tropicana Field, home diamond for MLB’s Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Brunch Bloody Mary comes with sausage, egg, chicken and waffles, donuts and bacon on a skewer.
This full-course breakfast is served in a keepsake mason jar. Probably wise that it’s only offered during day games. Bloodys are indeed a brunch staple, but it’s not the best idea to arm fans at night with multiple keepsake mason jars.
There’s little confusion about what’s in a Burgerizza. It didn’t take a marketing team two weeks of sleepless nights and teeth-gnashing strategy meetings to decide that if you insert a hamburger between two mini pizzas, the name is a given.
When fans of MLB’s Atlanta Braves aren’t busy exercising their arms by doing the Tomahawk chop, those hungry SunTrust Park patrons are downing Burgerizzas. If you can’t decide between a burger or a pizza, why not get both? And yes, you can get pepperoni on the pizza portion and bacon and cheese on the interior burger.
Of course, they’re not a full meal. A chicken foot is a snack, sold in concession stands next to bags of potato chips or peanuts. Be careful when you open the plastic packaging, or the sauce might spill out onto your shirt.
Such is the scene at basketball games at MasterCard Center in Beijing, China. Notice that you were warned to be careful of the red, spicy sauce when tearing open the bag to get at your singular fowl foot. Unlike most sports fans — and live chickens, for that matter — chicken feet come just one foot per bag, not as a matching pair.
Cotton Candy Waffle Cone
Who says the National Hockey League doesn’t have a softer side? One of the popular new dessert items for sale at KeyBank Center, home ice for the Buffalo Sabres, is the Cotton Candy Waffle Cone.
It starts with a traditional ice cream cone ... that’s filled around the rim with fluffy cotton candy. Your choice of Perry’s ice cream goes inside this cloud of spun sugar. To make this sweet treat even more list-worthy, the ice cream is topped with Pop Rocks, those hard candies that create a small popping reaction when dissolved in your mouth.
Dungeness Crab Pretzel
San Francisco 49ers fans would tend to lean more to the artisanal than the absurd when it comes to stadium menu choices. So football fans at the new Levi’s Stadium in the Bay Area have a Dungeness Crab Pretzel to consider.
An actual pretzel isn’t part of the meal. Rather, a butter-toasted pretzel baguette is the bread used to house the meat, in this case, knuckle and claw Dungeness crab. This tomato-garnished sandwich is also gussied up with garlic aioli, Dijon mustard and chives.
A pulled pork sandwich? Yes, please. A delicious donut of any stripe with a caked-on sugary topping? Sure! Put them together and serve it to Milwaukee Brewers fans at MLB’s Miller Park? Um, what?
The Ham Dinger is a combined effort between the Smoke Shack BBQ restaurant and Holey Moley Coffee + Donuts. The latter’s yeast donut is stuffed with slow-smoked Berkshire ham. Keep in mind that a “dinger” is baseball jargon for a home run. This offering, however, seems like less of a homer and more of a slow-roller down the first-base line.
The Pie Floater is a staple of late-night — often beer-sloshed — dining in Adelaide, Australia. This simple meal has forged a place in history and earned a spot on the country’s National Trust as a heritage icon.
For the uninitiated, a Pie Floater is a breaded meat pie inverted into pea soup and garnished with tomato sauce. License is taken with the degree that the pie is submerged, and the consistency of the soup. It’s bought and spooned up by hungry Aussie’s from carts that work the crowds at AAMI Park rugby and soccer (football) games.
Pork Rind Chippers
Fans of the Baltimore Orioles haven’t had much to cheer about of late regarding the MLB team’s on-field performance. One point of pride for the city, however, is its local seafood delicacy: Chesapeake Bay hard-shell blue crabs. At Oriole Park at Camden Yards, fans go through about 200,000 pounds of crab each baseball season.
Crab goes on a multitude of concession offerings, including a plate of Pork Rind Chippers. The pork rinds come topped with cheese sauce and Charm City’s omnipresent Old Bay seasoning. Old Bay — another locally produced fave and the self-proclaimed “definitive seafood spice” — is likely to be doused on anything a Baltimorean will eat. So why not pork rinds?
At Xinzhuang Field in Taipei, Taiwan’s capital city, whole sections of the baseball stadium often smell like a culinary mistake. Or worse, the place where the culinary mistakes have been sitting out all day in the sun. That smell belongs to one of the most popular dishes on the menu: Stinky Tofu.
Yes, that’s the official name. This “delicacy” is heavily — very heavily — fermented tofu. It’s cooked with brine made from fermented milk, then topped with pickled cabbage or other veggies. Optional add-ons: solidified duck blood or intestines.
The catching, preparing and eating of grasshoppers dates back to the Aztec empire. Following some path of logic, “chaupulines,” as they’re called in Oaxaca, Mexico, have found their way to Safeco Field and into the bellies of fans at MLB’s Seattle Mariners games.
More than 18,000 orders were sold in 2018, the inaugural run for this acquired taste. A four-ounce bowl of Jiminy Crickets is cooked and then dusted with chili lime sauce for a crunchy snack that’s high in protein, and granted, better for you than a four-ounce bowl of, say, fried bacon and cheese.