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Fried and True 

The Korean corn dog is rocking our world. Here's where you can get a taste.

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ALEX SPRINGER
  • Alex Springer

I'm sure everyone out there has some type of formative food experience involving corn dogs. For me, corn dogs helped me realize that sweet and savory can in fact work together to create something more than the sum of its parts. It's a simple truth that I picked up at a fairly young age, but that truth has been integral in my enjoyment of food since then.

Now, many years—and many corn dogs—after that first one, a corn dog-inspired food trend has been tantalizing our local gastronomic scene, and we have the improvisational genius of Korean street food to thank for it. I'm talking, of course, about Korean corn dogs, those sugar-dusted riffs on traditional corn dogs that have been dominating Instagram as of late.

Before we get into where you can get these tasty snacks locally, let's take a moment to reflect on their history. Korean corn dogs were first sighted in South Korea circa 1980. The corn dog concept was appealing for street food vendors because it combines great complementary flavors in a portable package. With Korean street food being a hotbed of culinary experimentation, it wasn't long before vendors were topping these corn dog variations with everything from puffed rice to spicy Cheetos to chocolate sauce.

There are a few key differences between Korean corn dogs and the traditional American variations. Chief among these is the batter—American corn dogs tend to go for a cornmeal-based batter whereas Korean doggos are coated in a rice flour batter or even a yeasted bread dough. Like American corn dogs, it's not uncommon to see melted mozzarella or cheddar cheese inside a Korean corn dog—no complaints here. The use of different types of batter has quite the effect on the finished product, usually resulting in a chewier texture. In addition to a heftier batter, Korean corn dogs are all about a satisfying crunch, which is achieved by adding panko breadcrumbs or cubed potatoes. It all gets sprinkled with sugar and topped with condiments like ketchup, sweet chili sauce or cheddar cheese sauce for a stunning mixture of flavors and textures.

At this point in its evolution, the Korean corn dog audaciously dares to combine as many fried snacks as possible into one cohesive dish. Doughnuts, fries and corn dogs coalesce into a flavor sensation that ignites the senses and revitalizes the bored food adventurer. Though it's a safe bet that Korean corn dogs will start coming out of the woodwork by the time this goes to print, here are a few local places where you can currently get this apex snack.

Yummy's Korean BBQ (2956 W. 4700 South, West Valley City, 801-769-6614, yummysutah.com): This West Valley drive-through was ground zero for my Korean corn dog experience. I had been following this restaurant's expansion, so it wasn't long before I started to see posts about Korean corn dogs dusted with sugar and drizzled in ketchup. It didn't take long for me to take a trip to this cozy Korean restaurant. Their main menu sticks to Korean mainstays like bulgogi—also very tasty, I might add—so if you're hungry, it's a great place to load up on a heaping helping of Korean flavor. Their iteration of the Korean corn dog is more straightforward, so it's a good place to try this out for the first time.

Sanfran Burrito N Fryz (3390 S. State St., Ste. 35, 801-419-0227, sfburitout.com): I visited this little spot in the South Salt Lake Chinatown Market awhile back for a review, and while I was finishing up my kimchi burrito, the owner asked if I'd like to try something off-menu. Even though I had just consumed a burrito—if you've been there, you know they're not small—I couldn't turn down this opportunity. Lo and behold, he returned with two sugar dusted Korean corn dogs. One was traditional with just a frankfurter inside, the other was half frank and half melty cheese. Since then, I've noticed that they've given their corn dogs a permanent place on the menu. I am now just counting the days before they try and put this thing inside a burrito.

Myungrang Hot Dog (11428 S. Parkway Plaza Dr., Ste. 300, South Jordan, 801-790-7776, myungrangamerica.com): This recently-opened location of an Anaheim-based franchise feels like the herald of a Korean corn dog golden age for local diners. As far as my own experience, this is the place where you'll want to go if you're looking for some more intense corn dog variations. They've got dogs coated with potato and sweet potato cubes, and dogs with dark black batter made with squid ink. I predict its arrival will push other corn dog vendors to try new and exciting toppings for years to come—at least, I hope that's the case. In addition to their signature item, Myungrang also serves up fresh lemonade, which has long been a sidekick to a crispy fried corn dog.

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