French Fry Coated Hotdog vs Molecular Gastronomy

Newley spots a french fry coated hotdog, I cook a french fry coated hotdog, then friends create the sort of french fry coated hotdog that would make Herve This or Ferran Adria cry tears of simultaneous joy and fear. Austin Bush and talented chef collaborator Hock have cooked a sous-vide potato confit with panko crust and hot dog foam.

The lengthy process began by cooking hot dogs and potatoes sous-vide; the hot dogs at a carefully calculated temperature and time ratio of 53.2ºC for 73 hours and 22 minutes, the potatoes at 84.7C for 2 hours 17 minutes (Starch begins to break down at temperatures of 78C and above. Natural pectins, which are the molecular glue holding all plant cells together, do not begin to break down until 85C):

For that bit of extra luxury, the potatoes were prepared confit with the help of the finest street fat available, Crisco.

There was supposed to be a methylcellulose tomato sauce “ribbon” but it failed.

They mock me for my lack of a “modern” kitchen. This is a throwdown, biatches. I know you’re in my country, Austin.

French Fry Coated Hot Dog On a Stick: The Recipe

I shouldn’t be left unattended in the kitchen.

French fry coated hotdog

One thing that struck me about finding the French fry coated hot dog on a stick in South Korea was that they were doing it wrong, the sort of cultural misunderstanding that happens when one culture cooks the food of an unrelated and unattached culture and then impales said food on a wooden stick.

Firstly, the hot dog on a stick wasn’t coated in real American fries but chunks of potato and secondly, the hot dog batter was wheat flour rather than a more American corn dog batter. If Americans had have first cooked this one handed food, it would probably be a very different but equally deadly beast. So I set about cooking myself an American-style French fry coated hotdog.

I cooked the French fries from scratch which is entirely un-American: feel free to use the frozen variety.


One hotdog
One large russet burbank potato
Plenty of oil for deep frying

For the batter:

100gms of plain flour
75gms of cornmeal
1 egg
2 teaspoons of sugar
half a cup of milk


Russet Burbank Potato

Find yourself a russet burbank potato, about the length of a hotdog.


Peel the potato then slice into french fries in a mandolin slicer (or do it by hand). Set aside.

Corndog batter

Mix together the dry batter ingredients, add the egg and the milk. Mix to a thick paste, adding more milk if it is too dry: you’re aiming at the batter being thick and sticky rather than runny like a real corn dog batter, slightly more viscous than a dough. Set aside.


Fry the french fries in oil until golden. Remove from the oil onto a paper towel.

French fry coated hotdog

Coat the hotdog in the batter, then glue the french fries to the dog as best you can. Drop this monstrosity back into the boiling oil and fry until the french fries begin to brown.

French fry coated hotdog
Le Pogo et frites

Remove from the oil and poke a stick into it. Call your cardiologist to make preliminary enquiries about heart surgery. Enjoy.

And then with the leftovers, I cooked French fry coated bacon.

French Fry Coated Bacon on a Stick

When Brillat-Savarin said that “the discovery of a new dish confers more happiness on humanity than the discovery of a new star” he perhaps hadn’t spent much of his time near the deep fryer. This dish confers on humanity nothing but moral decline.

I present to you french fry coated bacon on a stick. Originally I was planning on making a French fry coated, bacon-wrapped hot dog, but thought that the inclusion of the hotdog was largely pointless. Why not just head straight for the bacon?

French fry coated bacon, on a stick


French fry coated bacon on a stick

Back: French fries attached to the bacon with thick corndog batter. No food styling tricks, apart from using a fondue fork instead of an actual stick. I didn’t have a suitable wooden skewer on hand.

French fry coated bacon on a stick

Tasted. I feel ill and so very, very dirty.

If you’re keen to replicate, do so at your own risk. Follow the french fry coated hot dog recipe, omit the hot dog and substitute with a thick slice of homemade bacon

The last ditch

Little India Market, Kuala Lumpur
Saturday night market in Little India, Kuala Lumpur

If you could choose your last meal in a country, what would it be?

It’s a much more concrete question than some imagined last supper: unless you’re on death row or about to commit suicide then chances are you’ll have no power over the menu for your last meal, making it a question barely worth mooting as often as it is mooted. Most people who are executed don’t get any choice (contrary to the American myth) and being on your death bed also tends not to elevate the appetite. What the “last supper” question is really asking is “what is the best that you’ve already eaten?” from which the questioner is meant to discern the palate of the questioned or at least receive an answer pre-fried in nostalgia.

As for a last meal in Malaysia, what I’d do is bury myself neck-deep in a crowd and eat whatever the locals are chowing down upon, preferably in an open air environment.

Which is what I did.

The Saturday night market in ’s Little India could not be more packed without the crowd trampling each other to death ensuring that some in their midst had died whilst consuming their last meal. The food draws ecumenically from ’s faiths making it a great destination to either bone up on your knowledge of regional specialties or revisit the greatest hits of your time in Malaysia. There is also a great deal of street food that seems to be of questionable provenance, by far the most dangerous of meals.

Roti tarbus

Witness roti tarbus, a spicy Sloppy Joe made from a sweet white bun stuffed with minced, chilli-infused meat and wrapped entirely in a thin layer of fried egg.

Roti Tarbus

Once again, Asia seems to be at the forefront of perfecting variations on American classics. The mix of chilli and fried egg is one of the world’s great flavour combinations in a one handed food.

roti kebab

Roti kebab is kebab meat fresh from the rotating pole, served up in a sweet bun topped with a squirt of commercial mayonnaise and a dose of barbecue sauce. Saccharine and squishy.

Kuala Lumpur Fried Chicken

Fried chicken gets the stringy-looking outer coating from shreds of galangal, that lesser, woodier cousin of ginger; and is served in Styrofoam clamshells to be eaten elsewhere.

laksa assam

On the more traditional front, this stall is among the handful of street vendors outside of Penang to be serving Penang-style assam laksa, doling out both bowls and thin plastic bags. This version was tartly sour and thin but judging from the crowd and the near impossibility of procuring a seat on the communal tables behind the stall, this is the way that Kuala Lumpurites like it.

With a full stomach, I left Malaysia on the bus to Singapore, then onto Tiger Airways redeye to Melbourne, Australia via Darwin.

After almost three years, I’m home and it’s weird.

The pleasure of pork skin: Banh Mi Bi

banh mi bi

Vietnam is one of the few places on earth that you can eat a sandwich whose prime ingredient is roasted pork skin and feel virtuous for doing so. Banh mi bi must rate as one of the world’s perfect sandwiches: crispy pork skin with a luscious hint of creamy fat, perfectly balanced with a tart pickle, streetside mayonnaise, shredded spring onions and red hot chilli; all contained within an hours-old mini-baguette. It’s a world ahead of your average pâté-packed banh mi, if only because the meat tastes like it came from a very happy swine. To double the meat pleasure, Tiem Banh Gia Phat on Phan Dinh Phung street in Da Lat topped it off with pork floss, a meat condiment that is in my estimate, second only to bacon.

banh mi vendor, dalat

The only reason that I picked Tiem Banh Gia Phat was for their surgically clean banh cart. It looked like somewhere that with a tray of scalpels could double as a roadside operating theatre. The bakery out the back also seemed to do a vigorous trade in Vietnamese simulations of French patisserie.

Price: 8000VND (US$0.50)

Bad Korean food ideas: Meat in a waffle cone


Not a moment passes when I don’t think that the ultimate summer food experience would be to have a cone of gelati in one hand and a cone of grilled steak in the other. And possibly a third hand for an India pale ale. Despite what fast food companies will have us believe, not every food is designed to be eaten with one hand and I believe that Balena is pushing the boundaries of sanity by presenting Chicken Alfredo in a cone.

See also: Balena website