The Absolute Best Beer Pairing For Korean Hot Dogs

served Korean hot dogs
served Korean hot dogs - AS Foodstudio/Shutterstock

With such a famed drinking culture, it's no surprise Korean cuisine meshes well with alcohol. In fact, there's an entire concept called Anju, which refers to Korean food meant to be consumed at the bar. And there's even more crossover to explore among the street foods, like with the Korean hot dog, which also goes by the name gamja-hotdog. Similar to an American corn dog, this beloved skewer dish encases everything from sausages, to cheese, fish cakes and even french fries in a light batter. Sprinkled with crispy tempura bits and covered in ketchup and mustard, it makes for an easy-to-love contrast of textures and flavors.

It sounds like just the food to pair with beer, with the comforting flavor warranting a refreshing sip. So what's the best brew for the job? Well if there's one person to ask, it would be celebrity chef and owner of Seoul Bird, chef Judy Joo. An expert on Korean cuisine, she's shared her craft on television, a series of cookbooks, and as a chef in prestigious restaurants. Her recommendation is to keep simple: "I love a light lager to cut through all that deep-fried crunch," Joo told Tasting Table.

It's a casual approach that aligns with the low-alcohol and easy-to-drink beers popular in Korea. Plus, it's right in line with Joo's restaurant Seoul Bird, which has locations in London, Las Vegas and now at CitiField and Barclays Center. There, you'll find Korean chicken and burgers alongside drinks that similarly overlap with the American palate.

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Pair Korean Hot Dogs With An Easy To Drink Light Lager

filling glass with beer
filling glass with beer - Photologica/Getty Images

While there's a time and place for a complex, ultra-flavorful brew, sometimes it's all about relishing in simplicity. Koreans favor beers that are as light as they come, with the most bottles possessing a zero on the IBU beer scale, and an ABV that lies under 5%. Such a palate caters to pairing with soju -- if you're after a drink that's a little stiffer, you can always mix up South Korea's popular somaek cocktail alongside your hot dog. And it's all furthered by the fact alcohol's always joined by food, so the big flavors come by way of what's on the plate, rather than in the glass.

So for the delightful consistency of the Korean hot dog -- which is impossible to relish slowly -- you don't want a beer that gets in the way. Instead, grab the best ranked popular beer that's still endlessly crushable, something like the Samuel Adams or Yuengling Light Lager will do the trick. Some may say poor renditions of the style err on the watery side, but light lagers also intentionally have less carbs, so it'll be a less filling affair. So take satisfying sips with the hot dog right out of the can and relish in the delicious combination.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.