Korean Fried Cheese Is The Traditional Street Food TikTok Is Obsessed With

Cheese with ease.

Ever heard of a mukbang (pronounced muhk-bahng)? Or maybe just marathon-watched really satisfying videos of people feasting on foods like gooey, cheesy pizza and ultra-glossy pasta while holding a conversation with the camera? If you circled “yes” on any of the above, odds are you’re highly familiar with the movement and have likely come across such videos featuring a crispy snack with the most satisfying mozzarella cheese pull of them all: Korean fried cheese.

In the mood for major ASMR and a peek into the experience of eating Korean fried cheese? The TikTok hashtag #koreanfriedcheese is jam-packed with videos of hungry customers demonstrating that iconic cheese pull and educating the public on the different kinds of Korean dogs out there — the tag of which has a whopping 50.9 million views on the app.

What Is Korean Fried Cheese?

Believed to have started out as widely popular Korean street food in the 1980s, traditional Korean corn dogs have evolved from a thick-battered hot dog with sugar and various sauces on top to a trending food that can be made to fit every eater’s preferences. Myungrang Hot Dog, a food chain that originated near the city of Busan in South Korea, is thought to be the first of many to elevate the classic Korean corn dog to the potato-battered, sauce-dipped dogs many know and love today.

Think of Korean fried cheese as the beefed-up lovechild of mozzarella sticks and corn dogs. In other words, it’s deep-fried cheese on a stick: a love letter. Korean fried cheese can be coated in anything from crunchy ramen noodles and corn flakes to crispy rice puffs and Hot Cheeto crumbs. Diced potatoes are another fan favorite, and sit at the forefront of the food’s social media presence. The dogs can even be dressed up in sugar if you’re a salty-sweet enthusiast and the result is positively mind-blowing. Plus, you can top yours off with as many sauces and condiments as the restaurant of your choosing has to offer, such as ketchup, mustard, spicy mayo, and melted cheddar cheese.

Korean Fried Cheese vs. Corn Dogs

If you’re thinking to yourself how similar Korean fried cheese looks to a corn dog (except, well, covered in toppings like sugar and potatoes), that’s because the late-night street food is also referred to as a Korean corn dog. Like an American corndog, the sausage is served on a stick, but encased in a fluffy, sometimes non-cornmeal batter before being dipped into the fryer. While the meat-filled version is the blueprint, Korean corn dogs can be filled with cheese, rice, fish cake, and other ingredients instead. TBH, the options are endless, especially when you factor in the coatings (like Hot Cheetos and ramen) and sauces you can customize it with. As for Korean fried cheese, it is essentially the deep-fried dog with melted mozzarella in place of the actual hot dog.

In this July 2022 TikTok, NYC guru Dasom Lee (@explorenewyorkcity on TikTok) samples a spicy Hot Cheeto Korean fried cheese dog from Two Hands Corn Dogs at their SoHo location in Manhattan. This is, to be clear, what dreams are made of.

Foodie Natalie Ludwig (@eatsbynat on TikTok) hauls a few Korean corn dogs from Two Hands in San Marcos, California in her Jan. 2022 TikTok. Her picks of the day were the classic sugar dog and crispy rice dog, both filled with mozzarella and dipped in either ranch or “dirty sauce,” which looks like a spicy mayo. The taste-test itself can be seen in part two.

Where Can I Try It?

Now the million-dollar question: Where on this planet can one try these mouthwatering, must-have fried cheese dogs? Popular franchises like Myungrang Hot Dog, Two Hands Corn Dogs, and Mochi Nut are scattered across America, and each of the sites feature their own location trackers so you can conveniently find the one nearest you. You can also try your hand at homemade Korean fried cheese and customize to your appetite’s content. And if you’re looking to head somewhere local, a quick Google search of Korean restaurants in your area may reveal a few surprise spots that have exactly what you’re looking for. Happy cheesin’ to all who participate.