Monday, May 4, 2009
Japadog – Vancouver, BC
I never thought I’d line up for half an hour at a hotdog stand. Traditionally, the standard hotdog experience goes something like this: You’re walking down the street, or laying out at English Bay, or half stumbling out of Irish Heather and your nose perks up as you get a lingering whiff of fried onions. You run in that direction, shouting and half skipping. You order your hotdog of choice, and within thirty seconds of pulling your money out, you have smears of mustard on your chin and a stray strand of sauerkraut hanging from your earlobe. (True story. Really, hotdogs and I get pretty messy)
This is usually a brief passionate experience that takes a total of 4 minutes tops. If it took longer, people would probably be able to quell their primalistic hunger and would opt for a restaurant instead. Yet, on the corner of Burrard and Smithe from 12-7:30pm, you will see a line of patient, hungry people waiting anywhere from ten minutes to half an hour just for a hotdog. Yesterday, I waited for 35 minutes. Vancouver and I have lost our minds and sensibilities for Japadog.
Japadog is no ordinary hotdog stand. Firstly, because there are three Japanese girls in bright orange jumpsuits running the place. Secondly, and more importantly, because they are selling hotdogs with exotic toppings like grated daikon, bonita flakes, and nori. There’s a lot of jibber jabber about Asian fusion, but this really is Asian fusion. Take America’s favourite street food, top it with a bunch of Japanese yummy-ness and make it way better. Kind of like what Honda did to the sedan.
While you’re standing in line, you will have ample time to consider your selection of hotdog. There are four choices of style: MisoMayo, TeriMayo, Okonomi and Oroshi. My personal favourite is the Oroshi, which is a Bavarian smokie topped with grated daikon, green onions, and a special soy sauce. The TeriMayo is by far the most popular, as it is slightly more accessible to Japadog virgins. I find it to be a bit too much mayo for my fussy palate, but the nori is a nice touch. Also, you can now get Kurobuta pork sausages, which are tender and full of flavour. (Kurobuta is a specialty pork, the sort of Kobe beef of pork)
Although these hotdogs are pretty stacked, if you’re anything like me, you’ll be tempted by their array of condiments. Often I find myself seeing hotdogs as merely a vehicle for condiments. I think I get some sort of satisfaction, like I’m getting better value, when I pile on banana peppers, sauerkraut and onions. In any case, if you’re human, you won’t turn down Japadog’s Wasabi Mayo or strange and delicious brown sauces.