Imagine taking the whole idea of a corn dog and putting it on steroids. That might give you an idea what a Korean rice dog is like. Yes, it’s a wiener on a stick, but battered in a rice flour and coated in toppings, from diced potatoes to ramen to cereal flakes, before it’s deep fried.
Chungchun Rice Dog is a chain that was born in South Korea six years ago, and has exploded globally. There are locations across Canada, except, until recently, in Edmonton. That changed with the opening of a kiosk at West Edmonton Mall, and I had to try it. I wanted my first visit to hit the basics, so I stayed away from the exotic, like the chocolate filled dog, or the squid ink dog. And, I ignored the suggestion to have the hotdog sprinkled with icing sugar, which is recommended even if you go for a savoury option.
I went with the Gamsung, which has a chicken and beef sausage coated in rice flour, and then rolled in cubed potatoes. I had wasabi mayo drizzled on top after it was done, and yes, for about six bucks, this was a big bite. The fry on the thing was just about perfect. The potatoes on the outside were crispy, but not hard. They didn’t break off the coating as I bit into the dog. It all held together.
The rice coating is fluffy, and not nearly as salty as you’d find with a corn dog; because it’s neutral, it’s easy to see how the sauces you choose to put on (or, the icing sugar) will radically change the flavour profile. The wasabi mayo came through nice, though, next time, I might try to combine that with something that had a bit more salt.
Because, that’s the thing — you’d expect a wiener rolled in potatoes and deep-fried to come out and then be salted with the vigour of the McDonald’s kid at the fry station. But, without sauce, the flavour profile of the Gamsung dog is quite mellow.
Is it fun? Yes. Is it messy? Surprisingly, not. Would I try it again? Yes. But I might have to work up the nerve to order the chocolate hotdog.