It’s the time of year when everyone from kids to political candidates are noshing down on America’s favorite festival food: corn dogs.
Without questioning the superiority of ketchup or mustard or the maturity level of those who snicker at Rick Perry eating one, we all can agree corn dogs are probably the best food-on-a-stick to come out of America. The only thing fried cornbread weiners lack is year-round availability, as we only seem to encounter them at Fair Park and Oktoberfests. (OK, everyone also knows they’re the preferred late-night option at Lakewood Landing.)
It’s good, then, when a place like Myungrang Hot Dog opens for daily business in Carrollton, next to H Mart. Their signage is in Korean, but look for the storefront with pictures of corn dogs. In Korea, hot dog means corn dog.
Originating in Busan, South Korea, Myungrang is a chain that came to the United States last year by way of Los Angeles’ Koreatown. Since, Myungrang has spread to Hawaii, Las Vegas and Georgia. Georgia was where owner Grace Jang temporarily lived before returning to the Dallas area to open her second location and Texas’ first.
Of all the countries where the corn dog’s fame has spread, Korea may be the most creative at adding their own je ne sais quoi to the popular street food. The corn dogs at Myungrang are an example of this.
The No. 8 on the menu is a corn dog with squid ink added to a sticky batter that comes directly from the mother store. The batter is wrapped around mozzarella cheese and a sausage with the end splayed to resemble a squid. Then fried. The squid ink doesn’t change the taste of the corn dog much, but as explained, “It’s cute.”
For less than $5, there are corn dogs with little cubes of potatoes stuck to spongy breading that encases mozzarella cheese or sausage. It resembles the Korean-invented kogo — a french fry-encrusted corn dog that became popular among Western tourists to South Korea.
For those thinking this all sounds too weird and want to stay within bounds of all your previous experiences, go for the No. 5, a premium beef frank for $2.99.
With all corn dogs, you’ll be asked if you want a dusting of sugar, which, for those who enjoy sweet and savory combinations, is actually quite good. In addition to sugar, dogs can be dusted with honey butter or cheese seasoning, or covered in mixtures of Myungrang’s five sauces, such as cheese mustard and sweet chili.
Jang says she’s invested in the Myungrang business because it brings together both old and new generations of Koreans. Adding sugar to corn dogs was common among the older generation, and for many Koreans, eating them again recalls golden memories of grandparents and home.
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For younger Koreans, the appeal of Myungrang’s corn dogs can be credited in large part to Korean-invented mukbang — a usually live performance of someone eating large amounts of food while interacting with viewerships interested in learning about other countries’ food and how to eat it. Other possible reasons for mukbang’s viral popularity is perhaps a vicarious pleasure in watching someone else eat.
Many people come into Myungrang because of first seeing it on a mukbang forum or on YouTube. The most popular YouTube video of Myungrang corn dogs is a silent, 12-minute feast that consists of Zach Choi eating rice cake and mozzarella corn dogs, the crunch of each bite ringing out as the only audio. Nearly 3 million people have watched it, and more than 4 million people have subscribed to Zach Choi’s ASMR channel to see him eating other Korean street food.
Now that school is well underway, the crowd at Myungrang has thinned a bit since opening July 3. That means it’s a good time to try a Korean corn dog without the line.
Myungrang Hot Dog, 2625 Old Denton Road, Suite 314, Carrollton. Open 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Sunday.