Koreans love wieners: a fantastic trend or fusion mishap

Friday 02 July 2010 22:45

Foodies, gastronauts, health-nuts, greenies and gastronomic nationalists will never agree on the wieners place in your diet. But none can deny their international appeal, especially how Koreans have fused the wiener into traditional bites and elevated global trends.

Seoul's soul food is a wild mix of street food and oddly many include the wiener, but Koreans are not alone in the Philippines spaghetti is paired with hotdogs (not meatballs), Chinese incorporate wieners into dim sum with a hot dog bun and in Japan [and Korea] wieners have made it onto pizza (Pizza Hut).

In North America and Europe, the wiener has come under fire because of what's it is made of (better left unsaid) and its negative health impact (research published in May found processed meats up heart attack risks). Plus in February the American Association of Pediatrics recommend banning hot dogs to prevent children from chocking on them (artists thought it better to redesign the wiener: http://www.fastcompany.com/1564477/oh-i-wish-i-weren-t-an-oscar-meyer-weiner).

Similar to bacon, hot dog enthusiasts are innumerable and constantly on the hunt for new ways to enjoy their juicy processed meat link.

On June 28, the blogger HapaMama posted a recipe for hot dog kimbap explaining, "In Korea, hot dogs might be found in a stew, or simply with white rice and seaweed.

Kimbap is similar to the Japanese futomaki roll, "inside the seaweed wrapper is sesame oil seasoned rice, steamed vegetables, egg, and some form of meat - usually bulgogi (Korean barbecued beef), sometimes fish cake, occasionally even Spam or hot dogs."

Here is the Hot Dog Kimbap recipe: http://open.salon.com/blog/hapamama/2010/06/25/korean_hot_dog_kimbap

Blogs (Seoul Eats, Serious Eater, Salon, Hapa Bento, HoyaCooks) have paid tribute to Asian wiener dishes around the world highlighting Seoulites penchant for french-fries wrapped wieners on a stick and deep-fried rice-battered hot dog on a stick.

The Korean hot dog trend stateside has reached Ohio where the restaurant Senate serves them up and in Koreatown (Flushing, Queens) in New York City panko-crusted dogs on a stick sell for $2.00 (€1.60) at Hanyang SuperMarket and Chinese hot dog buns (saggy egg dough shaped like a croissant envelopes one wiener) can be found at both Taipan Bakery and Fay Da Bakery for $1.00 (€0.80).

And, on July 4th in Coney Island, Japanese hot dog eating six-time champion Takeru (Tsunami) Kobayashi will try to regain the title during the 95th annual Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. Last year he ate only 64 hot dogs second to the current reigning champ Joey (Jaws) Chestnut who devoured 68.

Full study, "Red and Processed Meat Consumption and Risk of Incident Coronary Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis":  http://circ.ahajournals.org/cgi/content/abstract/CIRCULATIONAHA.109.924977v1

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