Korean Corn Dogs. The Latest Finger Food Craze

What Are Korean Corn Dogs?

Korean corn dogs are a popular Korean street food consisting of a sausage, hot dog, cheese, fish cake or other ingredient coated in a thick wheat-based batter and deep fried on a stick (Source). The batter is often made from rice flour or starch, giving it a uniquely crispy, crunchy exterior when fried. The sausage or hot dog inside provides savory flavor and texture contrast.

Unlike American corn dogs which feature a cornbread batter, Korean corn dogs have a distinctly crackly crunch and slightly sweet taste from the rice-based batter. The batter completely coats the main filling ingredient, adhering it to the stick used for dipping into the hot oil. This creates a handheld, shareable and dip-able street food snack.

Common variations feature a hot dog or mozzarella cheese filling, or a mix of the two. The meat or cheese filling protrudes from both ends of the thick crunchy coating. Korean corn dogs make for a fun and portable snack with a flavor profile not found in most other cultures’ versions of corn dogs.

History and Origins

korean street vendor making corn dogs

Corn dogs, called “hot dogs” in Korea, are believed to have first arrived in the country in the 1980s. Despite being a longtime street food staple, the current trend of creative Korean-style corn dogs coated in different batters and toppings surged in popularity around 2020-2021.

According to an article on the Korea Tourism Organization’s website, corn dogs came to Korea in the 1980s after being introduced by Korean Americans returning home. They became popular street food, often found at street carts and food stalls.

An article on Bon Appétit notes that corn dogs started gaining popularity as Korean street food back in the ’80s. However, the current trend sees corn dogs with a variety of coatings and toppings beyond just a plain corn dog.

The Hot Dog Organization also traces the origins of corn dogs in Korea back to the 1980s when they became street food fare after being introduced by Korean Americans. The creative twists on corn dogs coated and topped in different flavors blew up on social media in 2020 and 2021.

Unique Aspects

Korean corn dogs differ from American corn dogs in several ways. The batter used for Korean corn dogs is thinner, crisper, and lighter than traditional corn dog batter. It is made from wheat flour, cornstarch, egg, water, and baking soda for a tempura-like coating. Korean corn dogs also often feature creative shapes like ribbons, sticks, or spirals formed around the hot dog or sausage. While American corn dogs just have a hot dog on a stick, Korean corn dogs can feature fish cakes, mozzarella sticks, french fries, or other fillings (Source). The dipping sauces served alongside Korean corn dogs are also unique, and can include flavors like honey mustard, ketchup, and sweet chili. Overall, Korean corn dogs offer more variety and creativity in terms of batter, shape, fillings, and dipping sauces compared to the classic American state fair corn dog.

Common Ingredients

Korean corn dogs have some signature ingredients that make them unique. The batter is commonly made with flour, sugar, yeast, salt, egg, milk, and sometimes beer or soda for extra flavor and leavening. Hot dogs are the most traditional filling, but mozzarella, fish cakes, and shrimp are also popular. The hot dog or other filling is coated in the thick, crispy corn dog batter and then rolled in a crunchy coating like panko, potato starch, or glutinous rice powder before frying. Panko breadcrumbs are a popular coating and help the outer layer stay crispy and textured (Stellan’s Spice). Mozzarella cheese wrapped in the batter and rolled in crushed flakes then fried is another iconic preparation (I Am a Food Blog).

Preparation Methods

bowl of corn dog batter

Korean corn dogs are made by coating a sausage or other filling in a thick cornmeal batter before deep frying. According to Stella’s Spice (https://stellanspice.com/korean-corn-dog/), the batter is made by mixing cornmeal, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, milk, eggs, and water. The batter should have a thick, coatable consistency. Pieces of cheese, potato, fish cake, or other ingredients can be added into the batter or used as fillings along with the sausage.

The sausage and fillings are skewered onto a wooden stick. The cornmeal batter is then generously spooned or rolled onto the skewer to fully coat the fillings. The coated corn dogs are deep fried in oil heated to 350-375°F until the exterior is crispy and golden brown. The total frying time is usually 5-7 minutes. The key is ensuring the interior sausage and fillings are fully cooked while the exterior batter becomes crispy.

Variations

Korean corn dogs come in many delicious variations beyond the classic dog on a stick. Some of the most popular types include:

Potato corn dogs – These corn dogs use a potato or sweet potato in place of the hot dog. The potato is usually coated in a crispy pancake-like batter before being fried or baked. Potato corn dogs provide a gluten-free and vegan twist on the traditional version.

Cheese corn dogs – For cheese lovers, cheese corn dogs stuff the hot dog or potato with gooey melted cheese like mozzarella before dipping in the batter. The melted cheese adds a lovely oozy texture and flavor.

Fish corn dogs – Korean fish corn dogs swap the hot dog for a fish sausage or other white fish like pollock or cod. Fish corn dogs have a lighter, more delicate flavor compared to beef hot dogs.

(Source: “What Is a Korean Corn Dog?” https://www.tasteofhome.com/article/korean-corn-dog/)

Where to Find Them

tray of korean corn dogs

Korean corn dogs have become extremely popular and can now be found in many places across the United States and around the world. Some of the best places to find authentic Korean corn dogs include:

Korean restaurants and food trucks often offer Korean corn dogs on their menus. Major cities like Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago have many Korean restaurants that serve these crunchy treats. Look for restaurants that specialize in Korean street food or fusion dishes.https://order.88hotdog-juicy.com/

Asian food markets and grocery stores, especially those specializing in Korean ingredients, will sometimes carry frozen Korean corn dogs. This allows people to prepare them easily at home.https://www.amazon.com/korean-corn-dogs/s?k=korean+corn+dogs

Food festivals and street fairs celebrating Korean culture will have multiple vendors selling Korean street food, including freshly made corn dogs. The LA Street Food Fest and KCON food events are good examples.

Night markets in cities with large Korean populations, like Los Angeles and New York, are great spots to find sizzling hot Korean corn dogs straight from the fryer. The vendors offer an authentic street food experience.

In Korea, street food stalls known as pojangmacha are everywhere, especially in Seoul. Here, you can try corn dogs just like you’d find them on the streets of Korea.

Popularity

customers enjoying korean corn dogs

Korean corn dogs have exploded in popularity in America over the last few years. While corn dogs originated as an American street food in the 1940s, the Korean twist on the classic has become a social media sensation and food truck favorite across the United States.

According to one article, “Korean corn dogs gained popularity as a Korean street food in the 1980s, but the current corn dog trend—which sees more than just hot dogs coated in a thick layer of batter and then fried—only migrated to the U.S. in the last few years” (Source). Their popularity initially spread through Korean communities in Los Angeles and New York, but has now expanded across the country.

Food experts attribute the rising popularity of Korean corn dogs to the influence of Korean pop culture and entertainment, especially K-dramas and K-pop music. As fans of Korean culture tried new foods they saw in shows, Korean corn dogs surged in interest. The unique flavors, eye-catching batter designs, and fun eating experience make them irresistible. Social media has also fueled their popularity, as videos of the creations rack up millions of views on TikTok and YouTube.

As Korean corn dogs go viral online, more American restaurants and food trucks are adding them to menus. Their versatility and customization possibilities appeal to US customers looking for an Instagram-worthy food trend. While traditional American corn dogs are certainly not going away, the Korean spin offers an exciting new option for adventurous eaters.

Nutrition

Korean corn dogs can have a decent amount of calories and fat depending on the specific ingredients and preparation method. According to this analysis, a typical Korean corn dog contains about 398 calories. The calories come from 43g of carbohydrates, 17g of fat, and 19g of protein.

The high carb and fat content is mainly due to the corn dog batter and filling. For example, a mozzarella stuffed Korean corn dog contains around 429 calories, with 53% of calories from carbs and 39% from fat, according to MyFitnessPal. The mozzarella cheese adds additional fat and protein.

While Korean corn dogs can be high in calories, the specific nutrition profile depends on portion size and ingredients. Those looking for a lighter option can choose baked instead of fried, or opt for veggie fillings over cheese and meats.

Verdict

Overall, Korean corn dogs are a delicious and unique snack that are worth trying. Here are some of the pros and cons:

Pros:

  • The combination of the sweet corn dog exterior and filling ingredients like cheese, mozzarella, and hot dogs or sausages results in an amazing blend of flavors and textures.
  • The variety of coatings and fillings allow for many different flavor profiles – you can get a sweet, savory, spicy or any combination of corn dog.
  • They are portable and easy to eat on the go.
  • The crisp exterior coating provides a satisfying crunch.

Cons:

  • Some find them high in calories, fat and sodium.
  • Those sensitive to spice may find some variations too spicy.
  • Some of the coatings and fillings, like mozzarella, may result in messy eating.
  • Those with food allergies need to be aware of potential allergens like wheat, dairy and eggs.

Overall, Korean corn dogs make for a fun, innovative food experience to try. With the ability to customize flavors, most can find a version they enjoy. Moderation is key for the higher calorie varieties. They are worth sampling but may not become an everyday food item for most.

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