Spiral-cut fried whole potato: Korean junk-food

Tornado Potatoes -- new street-food from South Korea. It's a spiral-cut potato, deep fried and dusted with tangy cheezy powder. Yes, it's unhealthy, but the Koreans have a long way to go if they're going to bridge the US-Korean junk-food gap -- hello, deep-fried Coca-Cola! Get that potato some whipped mayo and maybe some rat-poison (or plutonium) and we'll be in business. Link (via Neatorama)


  1. I saw one of these in Tepoztlán, Mexico about two years ago, only instead of cheese, salsa Valentina is used.

  2. Many restaurants here in the States sell this, though not with a sexy skewer.
    The last restaurant for which I worked on the Alabama gulf coast sold baskets of these same ribbon-cut potatoes and called them “whirly taters”. They were dusted with seasoned salt and they sold like mad.

  3. “Junk food onna stick” seems to be something of a speciality in Korean markets; I remember being genuinely impressed at the sheer range of things market vendors over there will ram onto a stick for your walking-and-eating convenience.

    My personal favourite was an entire sausage and chip dinner, which consisted of a large British-style takeaway sausage, on a stick, which was then dipped in sticky batter, dipped in a bucket of chips, and deep fried. The layer of chips, layer of batter and sausagey heart was basically like some kind of twisted, oily ice-cream from the heart disease dimension. Delicious.

  4. @ Dragonphyre:
    The way these could be worse than french fries is that they have a greater surface area, and thus more exposure to the oil they were fried in — theoretically soaking up more fat. However, if a potato (or any food) is properly fried at a high enough temperature, the boiling water escaping the food forms a barrier against significant penetration from the oil. For example, Alton Brown has shown experiments on his tv show Good Eats, that even after (properly) frying enough chicken to feed 4 people, all but a few teaspoons of cooking oil remain in the cooking vessel. For what it’s worth, based on the picture of the spiral ‘tater, it appears to have been perfectly fried and should not be oil laden.
    Of course, there are concerns that frying potatoes could create acrylamides (again, in proportion to the amount of food exposed to oil) which *might* be a cancer risk, though there has yet to be any evidence of that in humans.
    Now as that cheezy dust (as my wife and I refer to all fake cheese — “cheese with a z”), that might be some scary stuff. But c’mon, eet’s on a steeck!

  5. Some people might be a bit concerned with the healthiness of the snack. But I’m heartened. It’s a whole potato, spiral cut and fried. My guess would be that it’s dusted in front of you, and if you picked salt and pepper, you wouldn’t get the weird hydrogenated oils that are in cheesey sprinklings. Whole, fresh food simply prepared can’t be beat. Sure, you might be better off with a carrot, but you’d be worse off with McDonald’s fries. And I’d guess the tornado potato gives fries a solid run for their money in the taste department.

  6. I think these posts are Cory’s way of demonizing all carbs – having gone down the Zone/South Beach avenue like Cory did, I know how he feels.

    Once you stop eating crap like this, you become like those zealot ex-smokers who suddenly despise cigarettes…

    DOES look tasty though!

  7. I saw this on my Flickr screen saver a few days ago and immediately wanted one! It’s funny to see it here. -)

  8. Oy… You carb zelots. Excuse me while I promptly ignore you and the non-factual babble spewing forth from your mouth.

    Carbs aren’t the enemy. Sitting around on your duff all day is the enemy. High-fructose Corn Syrup is the enemy. But not carbs.

  9. That looks really cool, and blows the outdated fried onion blossom out of the water in terms of style points.

  10. Mmmmmmmmm. Tasty fried potatoes. . . .. .

    That picture makes me feel like I should be in a cat-macro . . . . “Oh Noes! Do not have! WANT!!!!”

    And for you carb-avoiding people, how can you live without pasta or potatoes?

    -andy benson

  11. @Drewstarr:

    How do they have greater surface area than chips? If you cut inbetween each of those spirals, you would just have potato chips. Isn’t the potato spiral essentially just one really long potato chip?

  12. These have been pretty common at fairs and carnivals in the States for many years now – glad to see the Koreans are enjoying them now. And trust me, they are deeee-licious. Much less greasy than french fries in my experience. The last one I had was simply salted and sprayed with a little vinegar from a spray bottle. z0mg it was good

  13. Mmmmmmm… Do want!

    Oh, and being a “carb addict” is like being a “water addict.” Your diet is supposed to be at least 40% carbs. Not simple sugars, mind you – preferably complex carbs. I get at least that much from carbs and have low cholesterol, good blood pressure, and am near the bottom of the ideal weight range for my height. It’s all about the lifestyle. (He says sitting on his ass in front of a computer.)

  14. These have been a favorite at the Texas State Fair for about a decade now. Only difference is they’re served in a basket instead of a stick.

  15. When I lived in South Korea, street food was mostly fried retired silk worms and steamed tiny snails. MUCH healthier.

  16. This is from MEXICO.

    I used this snack on my daughter´s birthday with ketchup.
    You guys should come to Mexico more often. ;)

  17. Chipstix (tornado potato – is a new name) was initially invented in South Africa way over a decade ago. This concept has been further developed and Chipstix machines along with the full product range including the mouth-watering flavour salts can be bought globally. The salt range is due to be released in shakers for retail. For further information visit http://www.chipstix.org or you can visit http://www.tornadopotato.net

  18. @Chipstix: Not African… I was making these at home over 20 years ago. Cut with a little device that was handed out free with the purchase of two knives at the local fair (can be used on carrots, beets etc as well)I used Kraft Dinner cheese powder…
    Ate a Korean version last year. Crunchy like a potato chip. And make sure you wear a shirt of the same color as the powder. After eating, I had an orange-speckled white T-shirt on.

    @hachimaki: I pretty much lived on those batter covered mystery-meat things my first 6 months in Korea! Load it up with ketchup! They were usually re-fried while you wait in order to get them hot again.

    Last note: Potatoes are freakin’ expensive in Korea! Five spuds smaller than a baseball: $4.00 !!!

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