Review: The Last Of Us-Inspired Corn Dog At Universal Hollywood Halloween Horror Nights Is A Monster Of A Meal

October 31 is still a few days away, but if want to get an early start on your tricks and treats, head to Universal Studios for the theme park's Halloween Horror Nights extravaganza. While you'll find versions of the annual scare fest at all four Universal parks across the globe, we recently got our scream on at the flagship Hollywood location. Along with the bug-infested Terror Tram and 10 temporary haunted houses scattered throughout the property covering everything from "Chucky" and "Stranger Things" to classic Universal monsters, there are plenty of horror-themed bites and beverages to enjoy during your downtime from being chased down by a chainsaw-wielding maniac.  

The best of the bunch is the mega-sized Cordyceps Corn Dog, which is inspired by the hit video game and HBO series "The Last of Us" (the post-apocalyptic property also happens to have its own haunted house). Available at Mummy Eats, the limited offering is worth traveling down all those escalators to sink your fangs into. 

The recipe includes some clever connections to The Last of Us

If you've scarfed down the standard Korean corn dog served at Mummy Eats, the Cordyceps take will be familiar — but with a gourmet twist. According to Universal Studios Hollywood Vice President Culinary & Executive Chef Julia Thrash, you'll find the same juicy six-ounce all-beef hot dog housed in a slightly sweet and crunchy "secret" recipe exterior that fuses panko bread crumbs and a traditional corn dog batter. While it lacks a cheesy center, there are a few additions that elevate the meaty behemoth and connect it to the terrifying realm of "The Last of Us."  

Despite the corn dog's name, cordyceps (the source of all that pandemic zombie chaos in the video game and show) aren't actually included in the dish, but there is a fungi addition in the form of a truffle aioli drizzle that offers welcome creaminess with a touch of umami. Crispy potatoes bring extra crunch and a hit of salt, while micro arugula offers a fancy flourish. Beyond providing a "color pop," the greenage, per Thrash, is a "The Last of Us" nod to "when the end of the world did start to happen, things started to overgrow."

Did the decent enough fries have us screaming for joy? Not exactly. Were we thankful we had something extra to nervously munch while we braced ourselves for having the bejeebus scared out of us by a barrage of runners, stalkers, and clickers? You bet. And at $12.99 for the complete package (which is, frankly, filling enough for two), it's a relative bargain, at least for theme park standards.