Get your deep-fried Pepsi here

Felicia Cousart Matlosz

Charlie “Chicken Charlie” Boghosian pulls out a batch of deep fried Pepsi-Cola, a new concoction he is selling at his fried food wagon at the Big Fresno Fair, October 3, 2007. Instead of water, he mixes Pepsi with flour to make a batter. Craig Kohlruss |

Credit: Ron Soltys

Fresno, Calif. — Charlie Boghosian, the deep-fried guy, came back to The Big Fresno Fair.

Remember last year when he unveiled the Krispy Kreme chicken sandwich? The curious combination of sweet and fowl was a tasty attention-getter.

But Boghosian, a gregarious man who loves to talk food, is always experimenting with deep-frying. New items are a must. That’s why this year’s menu includes — get ready for it — deep-fried Pepsi.

And — I’m not kidding — deep-fried frogs legs.

Two other new items are a bit less sensational: Deep-fried s’mores and a deep-fried version of Elvis Presley’s beloved peanut-butter-and-banana sandwich.

It’s all good at his Chicken Charlie’s stand. The 38-year-old from San Diego says all the new stuff has been a hit on this season’s fair circuit. At other fairs before Fresno, Calif., he sold 30,000 cups of the cola concoction, at $5.50 a pop. (He uses whatever cola brand is officially affiliated with a fair.)

The Bee spent time with Boghosian on a recent Wednesday morning, starting with an introduction to deep-fried Pepsi.

“I tell people this Pepsi doesn’t need a straw,” he says. “It needs a fork.”

Instead of water, he mixes Pepsi with flour to make a batter. He randomly pours lines of it into a soybean oil, which he says has zero trans fats and zero carbohydrates.

The lines break into squiggly curlicues, like pieces of a funnel cake, as they quickly turn golden brown.

Boghosian lifts them out and dumps them on a tray. He scoops some into a regular-sized soda-paper cup and adds a bit of soda syrup to enhance the flavor. He sprinkles a bit of powdered sugar, adds a bit of whipped cream and tops it with a cherry. He smiles and asks: “Doesn’t it look good?”

Boghosian explained he was inspired by someone’s invention and created the exact recipe he uses today at local fairs.

“I’m a cook. I invent a lot of stuff,” he explained. “I made my own.”

While some may be skeptical about the healthiness of fried foods, Boghosian said his health is fine.

“My cholesterol is in excellent condition,” he said. “Yes, I swear to God. It’s excellent. My blood sugar, my cholesterol, my blood pressure. Every year, I go and they tell me it’s great.”

For those looking to avoid the fried foods, Boghosian encourages fair-goers to splurge.

“It’s the fair. One day a year — I think they should eat whatever they want,” he said.

Felicia Cousart Matlosz

McClatchy Newspapers