Japan's Korokke-Pan Is A Mashed Potato-Hot Dog Sandwich Hybrid

Hot dogs are famously interwoven into the zeitgeist of America. ("Chicago-style" is a type of hot dog, for goodness' sake.) Perhaps unsurprisingly, United States foodies tend to take their hotdogs to elephantine proportions. Crif Dogs on St. Mark's in Manhattan does a bagel-inspired "Everything Dog" with cream cheese, scallions, and everything bagel seasoning. At Pink's in Los Angeles, you can get a Pastrami Burrito Dog wrapped in a massive flour tortilla. In an episode of his first show "A Cook's Tour," Anthony Bourdain jokes, "What did the Zen Buddhist say to the hotdog vendor? Make me one with everything."

For as dog-crazy as U.S. fans can be, America is far from the only hotdog champion of the world. When you think about Japan's food scene, fare like sushi, udon, or tonkatsu might come to mind. But, if you aren't thinking about hotdogs when you think about Japanese food, it might be time to think again. (Yes, really.) Introducing Korokke-Pan: the mashed potato-hot dog sandwich hybrid from straight out of our dreams. If you're an adventurous foodie with a penchant for carbs and comfort food, this one's for you. If you happen to be rocking a hangover or a scorching case of the munchies, this one's especially for you.

According to The Takeout, "Korokke-Pan" roughly translates to "croquette bread" in Japanese. Bite into a Korokke-Pan and you'll be biting into deep-fried mashed-potato-filled croquettes nestled inside a milk bread hotdog bun. (Hot dog fans: get excited.)

Fried, loaded, and slathered in sauce

According to The Japan Times, korokke originated sometime during the late 1800s. Unlike French croquettes, which are traditionally made with a bechamel sauce, dairy doesn't feature very heavily in Japanese culinary stylings. Instead, the binding element in the sandwich became mashed potatoes. Specifically, mashed potato croquettes are rolled in crispy panko bread crumbs and topped with Worcestershire, mayo, and tomatoes or shredded cabbage, per The Takeout. And to give the potatoes a zing, mirin, soy sauce, and even sake are mixed in for added flavor, says RecipeTin Japan, and they can be formed into cylinders, balls, or flat oval shapes. Variations of the sandwich have evolved to include ground meat and/or vegetables, commonly peas and corn.

For as enticing and distinctly American as a "fried-potato-hotdog-hybrid" might sound, there isn't really a straightforward equivalent for Korokke-Pan in the U.S. At Gold Sounds (a Brooklyn punk dive venue with an impressive lineup of vegan fare), they're serving Salchipapas — deep-fried hotdogs sliced and scattered over a basket of tots. It isn't a sandwich, but it's killer and probably about as close as you're going to get to finding Korokke-Pan anywhere nearby. In Japan, however, Korokke-Pan are an everyday fixture at "conbini" — convenience stores commonly stocked with grab-and-go deli offerings like onigiri, gyoza, bento boxes, and egg sandwiches (per Sugoii Japan). At spots like these, Korokke-Pan come pre-made and wrapped in plastic, much like the BLT you might snag from the Duane Reade on your morning commute.