It’s easy to pass by K-Town Hot Dogs. Located in a strip mall down the block from Hulen Mall, the eatery occupies a tiny amount of real estate, which is why there are no chairs inside, just a row of high tables with barstools so you can eat quickly and then leave. The only Korean atmosphere here comes from a TV that plays videos of BTS’ live performances from years past. The place offers only horchata to wash down your food, too. All in all, K-Town would probably work better as a food stand inside a mall than it does as a proper restaurant. Mmm, but if you are interested in the phenomenon of Korean hot dogs — the meat on a stick that takes the American corndog to the next level — this is your spot.
First of all, a Korean hot dog does not use cornmeal in the batter, and K-Town Hot Dogs offers coatings of spicy Cheetos, ramen, traditional yeasted batter, or potato — the potato is cut-up frozen French fries. If you order it, that’s called a gamja hot dog, and it’s like a hot dog and fries rolled into one. A stick of mozzarella or half-mozz/half-sausage can be substituted for a regular hot dog, a jalapeño cheese dog, or a premium beef sausage on the inside. The whole thing comes on sturdy wooden skewers that I intend to reuse the next time I feel like making kabobs. If you want American-style dogs on a bun with toppings like relish or cheese, you’ll have to go somewhere else. This place has a dinky condiment table with ketchup, mustard, or sriracha to drizzle on your stick as it comes out of the fryer.
I ordered a regular dog with the K-Town original crust and a beef sausage with the ramen. As expected, the deep-fried ramen coating made a crunchy contrast with the meat. It was quite heavy, but I was hungry enough to finish the thing. I do wish the kitchen offered a puffed-rice crust, which is a common way to eat these things in South Korea and would give a similar crunch without being such a load. As for the regular dog, the cashier asked me if I wanted sugar sprinkled over it, and what could I do except say yes? The amount of sugar was a bit much, but I did like the sweet-and-savory flavors that the dog had going on. I would have preferred a bottle of honey on that condiment table, which isn’t the Korean way but would have let me control the sugar. At least I didn’t need dessert after my meal.
(I wrote the bulk of this review before hearing about Two Hands Hot Dogs, a stall in the food court of Hulen Mall that offers similar Korean dogs, so I ate there for the sake of completeness. That place offers sodas and more flavor options, which is a plus, but I had trouble making the staff understand my English, which is a minus. The hot dogs there were comparably priced but smaller, which may be a plus or a minus to you.)
I needed more beverages than K-Town Hot Dogs could provide, and while I could have gone to the bubble tea shop a couple doors down, I’ve never been much for bubble tea. I took the doggies home so I could hydrate properly, and they lost very little in terms of heat or texture during the car trip.
These hot dogs could make fantastic party food — imagine putting these out with your game-day spread when your friends are trotting out the same tired chicken wings and nachos. Whatever its shortcomings as a sit-down experience, K-Town Hot Dogs is a bit of our food scene that gives you what might just be your next craving.
K-Town Hot Dogs
K-Town Original Crust $4.49-4.89
Ramen crust $5.29-5.69
K-Town Hot Dogs, 4940 Overton Ridge, FW. 11:30am-9pm daily. 817-386-5371.