Korean corn dogs sold at Koco Bell and Bao Boi in Boise, ID

Uh-oh, the fixin's on this Korean corn dog at Koco Bell are sag under their own weight.  Better eat faster!

Uh-oh, the fixin’s on this Korean corn dog at Koco Bell are sag under their own weight. Better eat faster!

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When Vons Chicken debuted in 2019, Idaho got its first taste of Korean fried chicken.

Three years later, another way to nurture your inner Seoul has appeared in the Gem State.

Have you ever tasted a Korean corn dog? Expect. never even understood of one?

Korean-style corn dogs are “a social media sensation.” This is according to a recent headline from California Hoodline news site. Indeed, 2021 has been “the year of the Korean corn dog,” according to enjoy your food. “On TikTok, #koreancorndog has exploded,” the post explains. “Now stores are opening all over the United States”

Um, not around those parts. Still.

But at least two Boise restaurants are selling Korean street food, which takes the corn dog concept, tweaks it, then blankets the exterior in seemingly random culinary madness.

You just need to know when and where to go hunting.

secret menu

Koco Bell, 3601 W. McMillan Road in West Boise, began selling Korean Corn Dogs over the summer. They are only served on Fridays and Saturdays. For now, the fryer’s limited capacity prevents Korean-born chef and owner Jaikoo “Steve” Kang from creating the mouth-watering snacks on other days.

Downtown, they are even harder to find. Bao Boi — inside The Warehouse Food Hall, 370 S. 8th St. — sold Korean Corn Dogs when it opened months ago. But the steam sandwich shop has cut its menu in half due to staffing and consistency issues, said founder and chef Frank Jordan. Now, Korean corn dogs are limited to Bao Boi’s “secret menu” series. They are periodically available to customers with inside information.

“You have to know how to ask for them,” Jordan explained in an email. “The code word is revealed through an Instagram story, and people who follow us are in the know-how.

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A Korean corn dog is $7.50 at Koco Bell in Meridian. Michel Actes [email protected]

Idaho Potatoes

Fresh out of the secret codes, I drove up Koco Bell last Saturday. I brought with me a traditional card-carrying corn dog lover: my 12-year-old son, Nicholas.

Despite an ingredient on the outside that screams “Gem State version,” Koco Bell’s Korean Corn Dog is “100% authentic,” promised Mariela Kang, who co-owns the restaurant with her husband, Steve. Their corn dog is coated in a savory flour-based batter – and topped with diced potatoes? Yes, purchased frozen from WinCo. “We use Idaho potatoes! Kang added with a smile.

Koco Bell sells three variations for $7.50: an “original” version, a “cheese” dog filled with mozzarella instead of sausage, and a “half and half,” which combines the two. I chose the original. Nicolas opted for cheese.

Along with a thick, rich batter, plenty of potato and mustard flavor dominated our first bites – plus gooey cheese and a bit of crispiness from the air fryer.

Mustard and dog-choking ketchup don’t just add a familiar taste. They also hide a secret. Before drizzling the yellow and red condiments, Mariela Kang carefully dusted the corn dogs with sugar. It’s the “Korean way,” she explained.

The result? To experience a fun, slightly sweet taste – a taste we’ve definitely never had before.

“It’s different, isn’t it? Kang said watching us feast.

I crushed mine – hey, it finally started falling off the stick – and was instantly full.

“I don’t know if I can finish this,” my son admitted. “It’s so rich!”

I helped him with the last two bites.

The child’s final mark? A 10 out of 10 for the original Korean Corn Dog; a 9 for the cheese version. “It’s really good,” Nicholas said. “I just think the other one is better. It’s really rich, so I took away one point: 9 out of 10.”

More dogs

Koco Bell plans to play around with new styles, Kang said, replacing the outer ingredients covering the corn dogs. In Korea, you won’t just find diced potatoes, you’ll find chunks of fries, or “they have it with Cheetos, they have it with the ramen on the outside,” she said. . “There are so many different kinds of Korean corn dogs.

She thinks ramen and curly fries will be Koco Bell’s next varieties.

At a pop-up event, Bao Boi sold one that was “half dog, half mozzarella cheese,” the restaurant explained on Instagram, “rolled in fries and panko and topped with kewpie mayonnaise, curry ketchup and topped with jalapeno Cheeto powder.”

For now, Korean corn dog fans will grab whatever they can get in Idaho.

Koco Bell hopes to increase the number of days it sells corn dogs and other street foods, Kang said. Beer sales are also part of future plans, which should take the corn dog experience to the next level. “That’s the point in Korea – with a can of beer,” she said.

It seems likely that Korean Corn Dogs won’t always be a password-only option in Bao Boi either.

“We hope to have them back full time soon,” Jordan said, “along with our street food portion of the menu.”

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A Korean corn dog goes well with a Coke at Koco Bell. Michel Actes [email protected]

Journalist and entertainment columnist Michael Deeds chronicles the good life in Boise: restaurants, concerts, culture, cool stuff. Acts materialized at the Idaho Statesman as an intern in 1991 before taking on roles such as sportswriter, editor and music critic. Over the years, his freelance work has spanned from writing album reviews for the Washington Post to hyping Boise in that airline magazine you left on the plane. Deeds holds a bachelor’s degree in editorial journalism from the University of Nebraska.

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