If you’ve been anywhere near TikTok or Instagram and have more than a passing interest in food, you’ve probably seen a few Korean corn dogs pop across your screen and thought, What????? No mere combos of weenies and Jiffy mix, K-dogs may have thick coatings of cubed sweet potatoes, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, ramen noodles, or Fruity Pebbles. The tube steaks may be chicken or vegan or not even dogs at all but long plugs of mozzarella cheese that will stretch from here to eternity when you bite in. These fantasies on a stick have long been a staple of Korean street food, or bunsik, but have become popular thanks to the rapid expansion of the Kong Dog chain, which first opened locally in Glenview (1749 Milwaukee Ave.) and has since expanded to Chinatown and the University of Illinois Chicago campus. I assembled a corn dog panel to try a variety of combinations — at right, our tasting notes.
1. Fried potato on mozzarella There is nothing not to love about this combination of crispy-crunchy potato cubes and endless cheese goo. But the recommended roll through powdered sugar was not felicitous. We all wanted this savory, not sweet.
2. Rainbow cereal on plant-based sausage A split decision: While two of the four panelists were intrigued into speechlessness, the other two wanted to gag at the combo of deep-fried fruity rice puffs and a mysterious orange vegan food-like substance. It tasted like a street snack from a dystopian future.
3. Original coating on beef sausage Gotta try the OG, right? Everyone enjoyed this with its recommended powdered sugar roll. Flaky and crispy on the outside, soft and corny within. With a little swipe of ranch dressing, this is a lily well gilded.
4. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos on half-mozzarella, half-beef Yes and yes. And more yes. Why have we not been dredging fried foods in Flamin’ Hot Cheetos all our lives?