Over the years, Americans have perfected carnival food. Options are usually fried, often on a stick, and typically can be eaten on the go. And of all the carnival foods that fit this description, perhaps none are as well-known as the corn dog. A hot dog fried in cornmeal batter, it might seem like an American food through and through. And yet Americans have not mastered the corn dog: The Korean hot dog is actually the peak version of this portable meat-on-a-stick snack.
What are Korean hot dogs?
In Seoul, you’ll likely see Korean hot dogs referred to as K-dogs or gamja hot dogs. Americans will probably recognize that a Korean hot dog is closer to what we think of as a corn dog than a traditional hot dog, and most shops stateside will label them as such.
What is a Korean hot dog made of?
Korean hot dogs are a popular street food in Seoul night markets. A Korean hot dog consists of a sausage dipped in batter and deep fried, however there are crucial differences: First of all, it’s sometimes filled with mozzarella cheese instead of a sausage or hot dog frank (or some combination of both), and the batter is a sweet flour-based batter. In South Korea you might also see fillings like squid ink or spam.
The best part of the Korean hot dog experience might be the toppings though. This type of corn dog is all about the crunch, so it’s often fried in a layer or breadcrumbs, or rolled in crunchy corn flakes or dried ramen noodles. Cubes of potato are another popular topping. After it’s been fried, the outside of the corn is often coated in granulated sugar. Then it’s drizzled with ketchup and mayonnaise.
Where to eat a Korean hot dog in Houston
Houston (and the suburbs just outside of Houston) is one of the best places in the country to try a Korean hot dog. The city has been shaped by immigration, and today many different cultures influence the diverse cuisine available there. The Korean population in Houston is small but mighty (around 14,000 people) but there’s no doubt that Houstonians have come to embrace Korean food and culture.
Here’s where you can find the best Korean hot dogs in and around Houston.
At Ok K-Dog the speciality is deep fried K-dogs and egg toast. Options include a deep fried stick of mozzarella or rice cake, the classic beef hot dog, and a beef hot dog wrapped in a slime of cheese. In one especially interesting version of the Oh K-Dog, the batter is dyed with black squid ink.
Where: 1302 Blalock Rd, Houston, TX 77055
Two Hands Corn Dogs
This chain has locations all over the United States, including four in Texas. At Two Hands, you can experience the classic K-dog. The shop sells versions fried in crispy rice puffs or potato cubes, which can be drizzled with ranch dressing. The spicy dog is rolled in Hot Cheeto powder.
Where: 9393 Bellaire Blvd Suite F, Houston, TX 77036
Krazydog gets creative with its toppings: Here you’ll find condensed milk and basil pesto drizzles, soybean powder, and cubed sweet potato. This spot also features a spicy option dusted with Cheetos. For dessert, you can try another Korean street food street, called the croiffle – croissant dough cooked in a waffle maker and topped with treats like cream cheese or maple syrup.
Where: 7160 Barker Cypress Rd, Cypress, TX 77433
Ugly Donuts and Corn Dogs
This Korean street food shop specializes in kkwabaegi (twisted donuts), bubble tea, and corn dogs. The corn dogs are loaded with toppings – the Classic American topped with relish, fried onion flakes, onion powder while the pizza version is filled with mozzarella and topped with tomato sauce, basil pesto, garlic powder, and parsley.
Where: 11200 Broadway St suite 1210, Pearland, TX 77584
Sul Bing Su
At Sul Bing Su, visitors can pick up boxes of mochi donuts and glass jars of bubble tea. The restaurant also whips up Korean hot dogs from Chung Chun, a Canadian chain, rolled in classic and more innovative toppings ranging from layers of crushed Cheetos, blue Takis, and dried ramen noodles. The shop also specializes in Korean shaved ice, piled high with fruit and whipped cream.
Where: 9798 Bellaire Blvd Ste E Houston, TX 77036