In Korea, corn dogs are called “hot dogs”—but adding to the confusion, Korean hot dogs don’t require a hot dog. They can contain mozzarella cheese or sausage or rice cakes. Like American hot dogs on a stick, they’re skewered, batter-coated, and deep-fried, but Korean hot dogs are usually rolled in toppings, drizzled with sauces, and dusted with sugar.
The star of the show at South Korean chain Myungrang Hot Dog, with a location at The Source OC, is the squid-ink hot dog with half mozzarella and half sausage; its crispy rice-flour batter is charcoal-hued and its end splayed to suggest a squid. Among other styles, one has a chewy Korean rice cake inside, another wraps the sausage in cheddar cheese. Mix and match five sauces and three sprinkled seasonings. Mukbangs, videos of people rapturously enjoying the dogs, screen overhead. 6940 BEACH BLVD., BUENA PARK, 714-752-6390
ChungChun Rice Hotdog is inside a Mochinut—a Korean doughnut chain exploding with new locations. A plant-covered wall hanging celebrates both treats with a neon doughnut, hot dog, and the words “you’re a dough rable.” The dogs might be topped with crispy potato cubes or ramen noodles; several styles are spicy. The melty mozzarella provides photo-worthy cheese pulls. Seven sauces include garlic Parmesan and mango habanero. 9711 BOLSA AVE., WESTMINSTER, 657-232-1955
In addition to the “better burgers,” vegan destination Beleaf also features international selections including a Korean corn dog. This one is unusual, and not just because the sausage is plant-based or the batter is purposely less crispy. It’s also hands-down the sweetest and gooiest corn dog we encountered, liberally zigzagged with honey mustard and ketchup, sparkling with sugar, and sprinkled with specks of parsley. 12865 BEACH BLVD., STANTON, 714-379-7040
The menu at Umai Savory Hot Dogs opens with two pages of internationally themed dogs and sausages on American-style buns. The all-beef Waffle Dog and the Big Mozzarella Cheese Stick are the only Korean (on-a-stick) hot dogs. The Big Mozzarella isn’t big, but boy is it stuffed with mozzarella. Order it “Korean-style” for tangy stripes of Sriracha ketchup and honey mustard; or pair it with marinara dipping sauce. 23622 ROCKFIELD BLVD., LAKE FOREST, 949-317-0209