Why Korean Corn Dogs Are So Popular

This Korean street food takes deep-fried hot dogs on a stick to new heights.

It's hard to refuse anything that's battered, deep-fried, and served on a stick—just ask any attendee of the Iowa State Fair. And although all corn dogs are worthy of the love they receive, one particular variety is quietly growing in popularity in America, and it isn't the fairground version you're used to. This intense, surprise-packed corn dog comes to us from Korea, and if you haven't heard of it yet, you'll probably spot it in the wild soon enough.

What is a Korean corn dog?

While Korean corn dogs have the same form factor as an American corn dog—battered hot dog on a stick—their name is a bit of a misnomer. Cornmeal is not actually involved in the batter; instead, it's made from a mix of wheat and rice flour, which gives it a slightly different type of chew and less of the graininess you get from cornmeal.


The fillings in a Korean "corn" dog can vary from fish sausages, which are exactly what they sound like (mild in flavor and not too fishy), to entire sticks of cheese. There might just be a regular hot dog in there, or a combination of both sausage and cheese. Some places that make your food to order also offer vegan hot dogs.

It gets better: The batter is like a blank canvas that can hold other ingredients like french fries, cubed sweet potatoes, instant ramen noodles, and more. Afterwards, some are dusted with things like sugar (for that sweet and savory play), cereal, and one of my favorite types from the Korean corn dog shop by us even serves a Dorito crumb-covered version. There's really no limit to what you can do with them.


Obviously, none of these options are exactly light, but they're all so playful that their over-the-top, showy nature is the real draw. It's easy to see why Korean corn dog shops are slowly gaining traction across the States.

Where can you get Korean corn dogs?

Since people in the U.S. are still learning about Korean corn dogs, not every city has them quite yet. Many large metropolitan areas have some outlet for them, whether it's at your local Asian grocery store with food stalls or an independent mom-and-pop shop.


NBC reports that while these types of hot dog shops have calmed down in popularity on the coastal cities like Los Angeles and New York after an initial wave of hype in 2021, they're now starting to take root in the Midwest, and people have been delighted to discover them.

One chain, Kong Dog, serves the East Coast as well as the Midwest. Mochinut, which specializes in mochi doughnuts (made with rice flour), also sells Korean corn dogs. Then there's Oh K-Dog, whose menu of Korean egg sandwiches is supplemented with corn dogs. Two Hands, Ssong's Hotdog—the list goes on. And these are all chains; this isn't even counting standalone operations.

For such a small country in terms of both geography and population, South Korea has had an immeasurable impact on American pop culture, exporting everything from K-pop to K-dramas to traditional food. Korean flavors even made their way to McDonald's USA in 2021 with the release of the BTS meal. And in the case of these corn dogs, the Korean invention taps into something truly universal: the appeal of fried food on a stick. What's not to love about that?