ChungChun's Hot Dogs Channel Korean Pop Culture

The popular hot dog chain sets up shop in the International District

This article appears in print in the April 2020 issue. Click here to subscribeDue to evolving public health concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, be sure to check with restaurants for menu updates or closures. 

Basking in the glow of neon, engulfed in earwormy K-pop melodies and the smell of deep-frying fare, it’s easy to slip into a reverie of street food stalls visited during overseas adventures.

But this portal to Korean pop culture is right here in town, at the popular chain ChungChun, which opened this first Pacific Northwest outpost, with just a few counter seats, in the Chinatown–International District in late November. There are but a dozen hot dogs on the menu, all variations on the original, which is dipped in rice flour batter and breadcrumbs for both a chewier interior and crunchier exterior than the traditional American corn dog. But the best among them isn’t a dog at all. The potato mozzarella ($5.49) is just what it sounds like: Imagine the misfit child of a pile of hash browns and a fried mozzarella stick, in all its #cheesepull glory.

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