Ranking Korean Corn Dogs From Delicious to Horrible

Original Dog


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Kong Dog

Children of the Corn Dogs

If you've never had a Korean corn dog, think of the classic state fair food that's fried and comes on a stick. But there’s more than hot dog inside — you can get cheese, or a combo, and sometimes more Asian-influenced fillings such as fish cake. The batter is crispier; there are more dipping options than ketchup and mustard; and the toppings are elaborate and imaginative. These dogs often pair sweet and savory in a way that can startle the senses. They've been around since the 1980s overseas, but their arrival in the United States only a couple of years ago with bizarre-looking coatings and oozing cheese trails made them perfect for TikTok and Instagram.

Will Korean corn dogs be just another hashtagged fad, replaced tomorrow by the next cool thing? Or is this a food built to last in franchises nationwide? Here are 10 kinds of meat-and-cheese corn dogs sampled at a Kong Dog shop in Somerville, Massachusetts, listed from good to worst. Or delicious to horrifying. Or most pleasant to most bewildering. What do you think of Korean corn dogs? Let us know in the comments.

Related: Korean Corn Dogs and Other Fast Food Trends Coming to a Restaurant Near You Soon

Ramen Dog

Best: Ramen Dog

A block of dry ramen is broken up so the battered sausage and cheese can be rolled in it before deep-frying, resulting in a fairly delicious complement of flavors with solid crunch and a nice undertone of char. This dog has the benefit of being slightly easier to eat than some on this list: The ideal is that you get a mix of flavors in one bite, and some Kong Dog variations are so big that a bite might be only batter and coating. This ramen version doesn’t add so much width that you’re denied a bite of hot dog or cheese along with the coating.

Related: Hacks to Make Instant Ramen More Delicious Under $1

Hot Cheeto Dog

2nd-Best: Hot Cheeto Dog

I was surprised too, but this combination works. The Cheeto dust isn’t as overwhelming as you might fear, especially sprinkled atop a spicy mayo sauce. Instead it provides the right amount of contrast to the slightly sweet batter and dog and the mozzarella cheese.

Related: Where to Order the Most Extreme Hot Dogs Across the Country

Rainbow Kong Dog

3rd-Best: Rainbow Kong Dog

If I was surprised by how much I liked the Hot Cheeto dog, I was outright shocked to find myself appreciating something coated in what is basically Fruity Pebbles cereal. But the hyper sweetness of the cereal burns away in the cooking process, leaving a nicely crunchy texture with only the mildest of sugar hits. The combination works maybe better than it has a right to.

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Spaghetti Dog

4th-Best: Spaghetti Dog

You know what you’re getting here. With Parmesan cheese sprinkled over marinara sauce on battered sausage or cheese, it’s basically an Italian dish on a stick. This is actually the Korean corn dog that risks the least but satisfies the most.

Sweet Chili Doritos Dog

5th-Best: Sweet Chili Doritos Dog

Whether it’s the dusting of Sweet Chili Doritos or the glaze of ketchup, there’s a pleasant burn that sneaks in as you eat this dog that raises it in the rankings for sheer interest. It’s not dull – and somehow became the only dog I remember wanting more of immediately while simultaneously thinking it wasn’t a menu option I’d want as often as other winners here. Surely that kind of contradiction deserves respect.

Potato Dog

5th-Worst: Potato Dog

There’s nothing too wrong with this dog coated in little cubes of potato. It’s a little hard to eat and a bit on the dull side. But it’s also a fine, savory treat that could be enlivened with the right sauce, like dipping french fries in ranch dressing instead of ketchup. (Korean corn dogs are messy enough; there’s a severe sloppiness risk in adding a sauce to what already looks like something observed under a microscope propelling itself through fluid.)

Sweet Potato Dog

4th-Worst: Sweet Potato Dog

The potato dog but ... with sweet potato. It has all same unwieldiness that comes with eating something so thick (and on a stick) and adds the debate that comes up every time a french-fry menu includes a sweet potato version. It’s not for everyone, and tips over into sweet enough that eating it can feel like an endurance test by the end.

Original Dog

3rd-Worst: Original Dog

True, this is mostly just a sausage or cheese dipped in batter and deep-fried. But then it’s coated in sugar. There are obviously plenty of people who go for this combo, but if you’re someone who eats a hot dog and says, “I sure wish I had some sugar to sprinkle on this,” we probably won’t be sharing a lot of meals.

Injeolmi Dog

2nd-Worst: Injeolmi Dog

What even is this? The roast yellow bean powder and drizzle of condensed milk make for a confusing dish — a set of flavors that doesn’t cohere. I somehow consumed the whole thing without my mouth ever quite figuring out what it was getting.

Churro Dog

Worst: Churro Dog

A wholly revolting taste sensation — the kind of revolution for the taste buds that leaves a lot of bodies rotting in the streets and too many families mourning their dead. Some people may yearn for a dessert hot dog or dessert cheese. Not me.