SEATTLE — Next to the historic Chinatown Gate, a new restaurant is bringing a modern twist to an old favorite: the corn dog.
Chung Chun serves rice dogs – a Korean food trend that’s making waves globally.
The small eatery is part of a worldwide chain but the Seattle location is owned and operated by a local family.
“Seattle is a great place for this. I think (because of the) variety of culture and nationalities here," said Aileen Hong, who manages Chung Chun. Her mother Hye Kim opened the restaurant, and you'll find in the kitchen making everything on the menu.
Instead of corn, Chung Chun’s batter is made with rice flour. When it's deep fried, it's satisfyingly crunchy.
Hot dogs or cheese on a stick are also topped with unique options like ramen chips or fresh-chopped sweet potato.
There is also a squid ink rice dog - the batter is black in color.
Savory sauces are available for extra flavor. But the recommended topping is an unexpectedly sweet one.
“We also add sugar on top, only if you want,” Hong said. "Sweet and savory, that's how we like to explain it.”
The most popular item is the plain mozzarella - in part, for the cheese that stretches in the first bite. It’s a social media sensation.
"A lot of people like doing the whole thing on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, all that stuff,” Hong laughed.
First-time customer Jin-Ah Kim was understandably skeptical, but after a few bites she was swayed.
"It's pretty novel. I'm not going to lie, it's strange,” she said. "It's actually not bad, it's kind of growing on me."
Best friends Karina Shtogrin and Lana Marie Hauschild are already convinced. They’re repeat customers, who’ve already filled one punch card and are halfway through another.
"This is our fourth time this whole week,” Shtogrin said.
Chung Chun is located on S. King Street and is open daily for lunch and dinner.