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I’m Mari.
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Monday
Nov122012

japadog

japadogjapadog hot dogJapadog is a restaurant specializing in - you guessed it, Japanese style hot dogs. What? Sacrilege!, you might say. Well, actually - pretty clever, if you ask me. Who says sauerkraut, mustard, relish or ketchup are the only acceptable toppings? Or take that idea one step further, who said there has to be meat?

japadogThe Japanese are really good at assimilating other cultures. There's a whole slew of words that didn't exist in the Japanese language that they've co-opted and made their own. For example, compupro = computer programmer; Goho = van Gogh; go stoppu = go stop, translation is traffic signal; amefuto = American football. Japadog, to me is of a similar assimilation. They've taken the horizontal bun/meat idea and put Japanese toppings on it. In some cases, the sausage is missing altogether. What remains is the concept of a hot dog. Brilliant!

japadog hot dogjapadog Japadog started in Vancouver, Canada in 2005 by a Japanese husband and wife team operating a simple hot dog cart. From one street cart in Vancouver to opening a store in New York City, I'd say this dogs/concept is one you should try. Mr. Mari and I tried three: The Negi Miso: Chicken sausage with scallion and special miso dressing; The Oroshi: Bratwurst with grated white radish, scallion, soy sauce; The Tonkatsu: deep fried pork cutlet with cabbage and mayo. We also "had to get" the shichimi (Japanese pepper blend) & garlic fries.

japadog french fries shichimiVerdict: Super fun idea! The Negi Miso was the standout in terms of flavor and experience. The sausage is fatter than a normal ballpark frank so a combo (hot dog, fries and soda) would be enough for most people at lunch. If you look closely, you can see that the sausages are scored too (see second image). My Dad does this too so I'm guessing it's a common Japanese thing to do; it gives the sausage a pattern (decorative), it also enables the sausage to expand evenly - no burst casing, AND the cuts can trap sauce in its crevasses (useful and smart). The shichimi & garlic fries were also good; the seasoning was piquant but not so much that it burned.

japadog employeeWe certainly want to go back and try some of their other options: Okonomi: Pork sausage, katsu sauce, fried cabbage, topped with bonito flakes; Yakiniku Rice: Pork sausage with grilled meat and rice; Love Meat (whoa): Special Arabiki pork sausage with a beef and pork sauce, topped with cheese. Maybe if we're still hungry, we'll try their Sweets Dog: three ice cream scoops in a bun. Now that's what I call ingenuity.

(Images from top: outside Japadog; the Negi Miso; wall mural; the Oroshi; the Tonkatsu; shichimi & garlic fries; employee)

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