An International Incident: Rice Dogs

Sunday, January 16, 2011 42 comments
Rice Dog
Shortly after our family moved from the Philippines to Canada, I had my first taste of 'real' spaghetti at an Ottawa restaurant, the name of which I no longer recall. But I do remember my eagerness at ordering this special dish which I got to eat only at parties and special occasions. All too soon, however, my excitement turned into bitter disappointment as I carefully examined the plate of saucy pasta in front of me and took my first bite. I promptly set the fork down and scowled at my mother across the table. "Where," my outraged six-year-old self demanded, "are the hot dogs?"

Much like the moment a child discovers the truth about Santa Claus, that was the day I learned that hot dogs were neither authentic nor integral components of spaghetti. As many of you already know or may have heard, sweetness and weiners are the hallmarks of Filipino-style spaghetti, for which Malou of Skip to Malou offers an excellent recipe. For those of us who grew up with it, these flavors are solidly embedded in fond memory. It might have been a crushing blow to my budding food psyche if I hadn't discovered soon after that hot dogs tasted even better out of the sauce.

A 'Dog Named . . . 

Frankfurter. Wiener. Footlong. These are just the most common aliases for the generic hot dog. Beyond the plain sausage in a bun, there are countless versions with myriad monikers, particularly in the United States, where it ranks with apple pie as a national food symbol. Thanks to a peripatetic married life, I've tried a few regional variations over the years - dirty water dogs in Washington, DC; slaw dogs in North Carolina; Naked (plain) at The Varsity in Atlanta, and 'dragged through the garden' in Chicago. In Minnesota, there were good ol' ball park franks at Midway Stadium, home of minor league baseball's St. Paul Saints, and Pronto Pups, a pancake-battered, deep-fried skewered hot dog, at the State Fair. Although the latter was invented in Portland, OR, it became the granddaddy of all fried-foods-on-a-stick for which the Great Minnesota Get-together is famous. Some historians believe that it was a Minnesota Pronto Pup franchisee who popularized the corn dog, a near-identical iteration made with corn meal instead of wheat flour.

Of all hot dog variations, the corn dog is my absolute favorite. I love the coating, which is essentially a cornbread - golden, slightly gritty in texture and with a sweetness that is perfect for the salty tube of mystery meat which it encases. Although corn dogs are not unknown in the Philippines, most Pinoys prefer to enjoy their hot dogs in the aforementioned spaghetti, pan-fried and served with plain rice, or mixed into fried rice. Now that I'm a Manileña, I really should adhere to these local tastes, even though I do miss my corn dogs. But who says I can't have my cake and eat it, too?

All-American, Filipinized

Corn may be king in the States but here in the Philippines, rice rules! So, when it came time to hot dog it for this month's International Incident Party, I decided to give my favorite corn dog a rice-over. I'd love to say that this is an original Tangled idea, but the distinction belongs to Korean blog Hoya Cooks (introduced by Daniel of Seoul Eats via this Serious Eats post). As Hoya's site is in Korean, I could only go by Daniel's photos of her 'rice-battered hotdogs' and try to come up with my own simple technique. The end result could use a tweak here and there, but as far as Mr. Noodle was concerned, my Rice Dog experiment was a total success.

Rice Dogs

Like its corn dog inspiration, these fried pups were lightly golden and even crunchier on the outside, thanks to panko crumbs, while the rice inside was soft and just a bit chewy. However, it lacked a distinct flavor like the mellow sweetness of cornbread; next time, I may season the rice with mirin, soy sauce, or add a sprinkling of furikake or shichimi togarashi. Feel free to experiment and let me know what you come up with!


1 cup raw rice* (yields 3 cups cooked)
6 cocktail franks (or 3 regular hot dogs, cut in half), boiled
2 eggs, well-beaten
1-2 cups panko
Vegetable oil

Plastic wrap
Bamboo Skewers

*For best results, use a short-grain variety of rice, such as 'sushi' rice (japonica), as it is more starchy, and therefore stickier, than long-grain types such as Basmati.

To Make:

Prepare rice as directed by package; when done, allow to cool just until it can be handled, but is still warm. On a wide strip of plastic wrap, scoop out 1/2 cup of rice and spread out in a rectangle about the size of an index card (3.5-x5-inches). Place one cooked hot dog in the center of the rice, then bring edges of the plastic wrap together and press gently yet firmly so that the rice is molded completely around the wiener. Set aside and repeat with the remaining rice and hot dogs.

Pour oil about 1-inch deep in a fry pan or pot and heat. Unwrap rice dogs and dip in beaten eggs, then roll in panko crumbs. Fry on one side until crisp and golden, then flip using tongs; when done, remove to a paper-towel lined plate to absorb any excess oil. Skewer with bamboo sticks and serve with your favorite condiments, especially banana ketchup for a truly Filipinized taste experience. Enjoy!

For a whole pack of imaginative hot dog-themed recipes, please check out the other entries for the current International Incident Party. Hosted by Penny of Jeroxie, IIP challenges participants to create dishes based on a new food theme each month. Enjoy reading the entries and please consider joining the party next time!


  • The Daily Palette said...

    Yes! I'm so glad you joined the party! I thought about Malou's Filipino-Style Spaghetti for this challenge. Then the only other way I remember eating a hotdog: WRAPPED IN A WAFFLE.

    Love your rice dog and I shall try making some soon! Thanks for sharing!

  • Unknown said...

    Thanks to the existence of Jollibee here, my kids also thought spaghetti sauce should always contained sliced hotdogs! These crispy rice dogs look so mouthwatering, I may just surprise my kids with these!

  • CK said...

    I wouldn't normally eat a hot dog, but I would love to give one of these a go! It looks absolutely delicious - droolworthy! And I loved what you wrote, it was fun and a pleasure to read. Your blog is gorgeous. I think all the IIP people are so talented.

  • Joyti said...

    You know, I took a class on Filipino social justice, and the teacher introduced us to cultural elements - like the Filipino take on spaghetti. I was so surprised by the sweetish spaghetti with hot dogs! It was different from the American version I was used to...
    O, and your rice dogs - so original and I'm sure, delicious too.

  • veron said...

    You and me both, about disappointment. We love our hotdogs in spaghetti. This is a great idea, I think I would prefer this than the regular batter they use in corn dogs. Yum!

  • Hornsfan said...

    Hilarious, I can picture the look of surprise when the spaghetti came hot-dog-less to the table :) Now, put the shoe on the other foot, as a good Texas girl who has eaten a ton of spaghetti in her life I would've been more than a little shocked to find hot dogs in my sauce at the age of 6 :)

  • Tangled Noodle said...

    Once again, thank you everyone for your kind comments! I'm so embarrassed to admit that I'm still not managing my time very well, especially about replying to each of you individually. But please don't give up on me! 8-)

  • Dina @ The Dish & The Dirt said...

    That looks awfully good, and I bet, even better to my little boys. Nice East-West combo for my kids who love rice and hot dogs all at the same time -- will give me an option away from spam musubi! Do you think instead of mirin, which could make the rice a bit soggy, some furakaki (that flaked seaweed, sesame combo) could be added for a touch of sweetness?

  • Heather S-G said...

    Wow, that's really cool! You gotta know I love a good corndog, too..but I'd be willing to try a crispy rice variation, especially with the suggestions you've given. Plus, it just looks neat :)

  • Anonymous said...

    I love the idea of a rice dog! This is something 5 star foodie jr. would absolutely love, must make it for her!

  • walk2write said...

    I can so relate to that peripatetic married life:) My daughter-in-law would love this recipe. She's Peruvian, and rice is a staple item there, but she's trying to keep Son and grandson happy with American dishes. This recipe would be a good marriage of their two cultures.

  • gastroanthropologist said...

    Genius! I love your spaghetti story too - growing up with a Korean mother we had some similar experiences as kids. Not food related but you reminded me of a time when I thought Lake Tahoe was Nake Tahoe because my mom couldn't really pronounce the "L" sound in Lake.

    I'm a sucker for corn dogs. We had a lot of rice and vienna sausage growing corn dog fashion would have been such a treat!

  • skip to malou said...

    rice dogs! what a clever idea to put them together ala corndogs! it's like the hotdog-silog on a stick.
    I'm glad that you are embracing the Manila life that you have. I'm always curious how you are doing over there.
    Thanks for the mention here too. I felt my face warm up when I read my name by surprise haha!

    Take care,

  • Lori said...

    These sound so good! I have to admit that a good hotdog tops my list of favorite foods. It has to completely decked out with all the Chicago-style good stuff though. A corn dog isn't far behind. Fortunately, we have some local farmers who are processing hot dogs! I can't wait to try them out during the summer grilling season around here. :)

  • Manang said...

    I bet this is something my kids would want to try cooking! Makes me wonder if baking this (like Pinoy version of pig-in-a-blanket?) would give the same results...

  • Shanae Branham said...

    I loved seeing the elephant seals and the jam made my mouth water! By the way, I have a contest giveaway on my blog you might find fun. Take a look.


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