We've got the stars and stripes, the Fourth of July and the Liberty Bell. But nothing screams America more than hot dogs. They are our national culinary pride and joy. Not only is August 26th National Hot Dog Day, we bet you didn't know about the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council (a committee dedicated to that wonderful meat and bun). From America's east to west coast, each city swears by its own interpretation of the dog (with Chicago and New York swearing the loudest). Taking the blank sausage and bun as a starting point, numerous nations have adopted the hot dog into their cuisine and reinterpreted the American favorite to fit their cultural eating habits. This has produced some strange ass hot dogs, and so we give you the 9 most interesting variations of a hot dog around the world (with our favorite dog of them all saved for last)...
Hot dogs do exist in China, but their sausages are just a lot smaller (this is hot dogs, focus). China has only recently and very cautiously opened their doors to Western influences. Their traditional food is so carbo-loaded (noodles, rice and all that jazz) that putting a big hunk of meat into a smaller bun makes no Chinese sense. The hot dog first creeped into China as a sausage wrapped in a dumpling-like dough and has been evolving to suit mostly tourists' hot dog needs since. The opening of Orange Dog in the basement of a big shopping center in Shanghai is the epitome of catering to Western hot dog tastes. Fans of Orange Dog are raving about how "normal" these dogs taste; we think normal is boring. Bring on the small sausages; moving on.
There is no nice way to put it: people go to Amsterdam to get high. What happens when you get high? You get the munchies. The locals here have crafted the most satisfying munchies cure of all. We give you "The Stoner Dog". Thanks to Amsterdam, you no longer have to aimlessly wander between pizza shop and hot dog stand, deciding which one would hit the spot as The Stoner Dog is basically a pizza on top of a hot dog. Now if they threw some M&Ms and a handful of Doritos on top, the world would be at peace.
A good description would be "Hot Dog Soup in a Bun". The toppings on Brazil's version of the hot dog don't stop and they're ridiculous. Just listing them all here sounds like we're making a dinner for a family of ten. Nonetheless, here we go, in order of ridiculousness: hot dog, bun, red pepper, green pepper, onion, hot dog ju, a small hard-boiled egg, corn, peas (why with the peas?), parmesan cheese, ketchup, mayo and potato chips (for crunch we presume). OTP went to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil just to witness it for ourselves and for the above photo opportunity.
They did invent pizza so why not hot dogs? Fear not, Italy is indeed serving up hot dogs, just not in a way Americans are used to. The Italian hot dog is a large brioche loaf stuffed with sliced (like pepperoni) wurstel and topped with a healthy dose of mayo. The composition of the Italian hot dog is of German/Austrian (wurstel) and French (brioche) influence and has very little, if anything, to do with Americans.
Their meatballs are perfection. But as far as hot dogs go, the Swedes came up with some twisted culinary concoction. The recipe: flatbread, bologna-like dog , mashed f*cking potatoes, one side mustard and the other side green mayo and then, THEN mayo covered shrimp salad. Where the shrimp salad (or the mashed potatoes for that matter) fits in beats us but this hot dog definitely covers all the food groups (if mayo had its own food group that is).
Japan is home to long time hot dog eating champ Takeru Kobayashi (a competitive eating sports icon, because those exist). But what does Japan, sushi capital of the world, know about hot dogs? Well, these guys retain their fishy roots in their dogs. More of a corn dog, a Japanese style hot dog is made up of a seafood sausage and served up with squid sashimi, natto (slimy, gooey, fermented soy beans) and seaweed. Kobayashi's secret then must lie in conditioning his stomach with fishy dogs. Who knew?
There is a bar called Hot Dogs in Moscow and while you would expect their dogs to be loaded with beets, potatoes and some sort of stewed animal products (maybe a shot of vodka on top), Russians are just not that big on hot dogs. Their dogs are regular ketchup and mustard dogs. So why include them on the list?Â Well, Hot Dogs Bar has hookers, and the combination of hookers and hot dogs is something we believe is a rarely explored, and quite interesting, pastime.
The Hollywood Hot Dog
Mostly to avoid argument about which one is best, OTP has gone far off the track and selected the Hollywood Hot Dog as our official dog of choice. Sold by illegal street cart pushers at 2:00 a.m. outside the hottest Los Angeles nightclubs, the aroma alone draws partygoers away from their drinks and out into the streets for a taste of artery-clogging, stomach-punching heaven. To do this dog justice, we dove deep into its history. Our discoveries were shocking: the beloved Hollywood Hot Dog, with its bacon wrapped interior and sultry grilled onion posterior, is actually of Mexican (not Hollywoodian) origin. This goes to show that globalization has spread our dogs around the world.
There you have it. Hot dogs are unstoppable and have permeated almost every crevice of world cuisine. The simple ketchup and mustard dog has mutated into mashed potatoes, shrimp salad, peas, fish and other toppings more suitable for a garbage disposal. Nonetheless, the hot dog, and its world interpretations, is a symbol of both American influence and the permanence of culture specific food preferences when confronted with that American influence.