At the bon dance, the line for waffle dogs is long, but not impossibly so. Behind a tented table, half a dozen workers scoop batter from buckets into the waffle dog iron mold. A hot dog is added, then more batter, before being pressed into a crispy, compact treat.
"It used to take 15 minutes to make a batch, but after years of improvement, cooking time is down to five minutes," Asato says of the fourth generation of waffle dog machines.
And true to his word, five minutes later, he lifts a batch from the iron, slices them into single servings, snips away the crusted edges, and presents his hungry clients with perfectly crisp waffle dogs, packed in foil.
It's been more than a decade since my last KC waffle dog, and my childhood recollections of consuming them are fuzzy, like an old movie. Before I bite in, I remind myself that odds are, like so many other childhood joys, waffle dogs will probably not be as good as I remember. And yet, after just the first bite, forgotten memories of my grandparents and family birthday parties come washing back, and before I know it, I’m even remembering to consume the waffle dog the same way I did as a kid: dog first, saving the slightly sweet, extra crispy waffle edges for last.