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Cold comfort from Hotdogs


Having spent my formative years in a bumbling Northamptonshire village where the most exotic event on the calendar was French exchange student week, TV served as a window on all things non-village, non-small town England, non-inbred. The late 70's, & the 80's re-run schedules, were littered with classic TV cop-series: Kojak, Hawaii Five-O, Starsky and Hutch and the Streets of San Francisco. The good guys, at least in my food-focused head, had one thing in common - as a cunning disguise, they all bought and ate hotdogs from streetcarts whilst scoping out the shady villain in a blacked out sedan across the road. Hotdogs might have arrived in my life thirty years ago via Karl Malden down a black and white tube, but I still don't think I've ever scoffed a genuine 'dog.


I couldn't find a US food blog with even a mention of a hotdog streetcart. Did they all die out with Steve McGarret and Danno? More importantly, what the hell are cops using for cover in the States these days? Sidewalk Frappuccino floggers? I had to know. I emailed NYC-based Josh at The Food Section for the latest word on 'dog street and the news wasn't good, "I don't know anyone who actually buys hotdogs from street carts, to be honest. They exist, but I think they live on in the movies as nostalgic nosh. Many of the carts have been augmented to serve up kebabs and other griddled meat sandwiches, which seem to be more popular." Although he went on to say Gray's Papaya, Papaya King and Frites and Beignets (F&B') all sell 'dogs. Childhood illusions cracked, if not shattered, I felt sure that there'd be a hotdog seller somewhere in Saigon. With a little bit of detective work of my own, I found one at the serving hatch pictured above at The Hard Rock Cafe, 22-24 Mac Thi Buoi Street in District 1.


I'm fairly certain it's no relation to the famous Hard Rock Cafe chain - this page would seem to confirm that - but they've nicked the name and logo anyhow. They offer 'Hot dogs and more' - the 'more' being six different kinds of burger. There's also a seating area and bar inside. There are seven 'dogs on offer; regular, Debreziner, Franfurter, Krakuer, 100% Beef Bratwurst, 100% Pork Bratwurst and 100% Chicken sausage. Prices range from 40,000VD to 55,000VD. Service is efficient and friendly. Everything is cooked while you wait. All 'dogs come with chips, diced onions, mustard and ketchup. I opted for a 100% Beef Bratwurst 'dog to go. I didn't get any onions, but I did get a bag of coleslaw, one of mustard and the other of ketchup.


Chips were good - crisp, well cut and tasty. Moving on to the main event, both the bun and the sausage were awful. The bun was dry and hard. The sausage had that over thick, elastic surface which means your teeth have to do all the work to break through to the bland tasting beef core. The coleslaw was a lumpen joke, the mustard of the cheap, plastic tasteless variety. As for the ketchup - well - I saw which bottle it came out of (a hellish local brand) and decided to steer well clear. In retrospect maybe the 'regular' or the 'frankfurter' 'dog options would be a better buy. But the whole experience was rather unpleasant. So much so, that I only got through half of this before the remnants hit the bin. If this is what TV cops scoffed throughout the 70's no wonder no-one's blogging from any remaining Manhattan streetcarts. Although I would, if I had the chance.


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Hi Noodlepie,

You beat me with your hot dog post. I've been trying to get to that place near Borders, but everytime I go by it's closed.

I used to always get hot dogs from the carts in New York when I lived there years ago. They were a dollar and came topped with mustard, ketchup, sauerkraut and some kind of sauce that was tomato-y and had beans in it.

In Brooklyn near the N train station there used to be a Nathan's. It's one of the more popular hot dog joints around. Here's a link to their site:

Hopefully I can get to the hot dog spot soon. If not, I'll have to make it on over to Costco and blog about the Hebrew National dogs they serve there.

I'm also curious as to why no one blogs up hot dogs in the States. When I was in Texas and in Las Vegas, NV, I ran into a couple of Wienerschnitzel shops, but didn't have a chance to stop in. Here's a link:

hey pieman

dig the "probably the best in town" uncertainty on that hot dog box! the last time i was in new york, i saw a young man doubled over in pain and regurgitating the dog he just scoffed, certainly the worst sign of all. i believe it is in paraguay where they have hot dog carts everywhere--when you ask for a dog with "the works" you get the average ketchup, mustard, relish *and* pineapple chunks and crushed potato chips.
anyway, it's a chore to find anyone in la who will visit a hot dog stand with me, even though there are rather famous ones--pink's, tail o' the pup (shaped like a hot dog, no less!), even nathan's, and even a completely punk rock one, oki dog, which i admit to going to in my wasted youth (great la hot dog reviews at this site, btw.) i suppose there's just so much else to eat and hot dogs tend to be a little one-dimensional. i will, however, always get a dodger dog when i go to a game at dodger stadium....

"Join the weiner's circle"!

Loved the tribute. America lives in mythology, we just have sausage sizzles run by boy scouts that I have to pass by every time I go to pick up yet another bag of mulch. Then again had a NY dog a few years back and it was shite (and I didn't get to break off into a sprint in hot pursuit shouting back -keep the change).

Reid - I'm looking forward to your post immensely. I too find it most strange why something so iconic hasn't been blogged up. However, I agree with Santos they are kinda one dimensional, but then so is the Pho in this town. Put it this way, if someone parped up with a hotdog blog, even just photos and short snippets they'd have one reader in Saigon:) That's a bunch of great links all - thx. Anthony, that cart franchise link is a total winner. Why would anyone want to start a fast food career in Micey D's when they could be out int he open air selling 'dogs? As the yanks say, it's a no brainer.

speaking of hot dogs, have you guys seen this contraption:

be sure to read the reader comment at the end.

i eat most of my hot dogs these days when i go to costco. i didn't know they're the hebrew national brand. most of the time the buns are all smushed up. rather unappetizing. but at $1.50 for one + a soda, it's a good value.

Like Santos, I too noted their slogan ... "PROBABLY the best in town" (emphasis my own) .... not exactly oozing with confidence. :o)

Hot-dogs are everywhere here in Seoul, although somewhat more liberal with the choices of condiments. That reminds me, I need to cut down on my processed meat intake. 4 cans of spam a day is just about right.

I did contemplate mentioning the slogan, even photoshopping it, but you're right, it really speaks for itself.

I seem to remember hotdogs in Seoul came with some very odd condiments. Maybe I'm getting mixed up the wierdo bakeries you have over there.

The best ever hotdog i had.. were from A & W .. in Singapore. the tuesday's coney dog... for a special price of .. i can't remember now.. but that was ages ago.. and i don't think they have it now.. :(
I used to buy them.. so that i can chomp on them.. while watching a movie at Cathay Cinema.. :) which i don't think exist now. Prolly someone in Singapore now.. can confirmed that ..??!!??

ha ha! i love the hot diggity dogger, but the coolest hot dog contraption has to go to octodog.

hey pieman

a hot dog blog!

Street vendor hot dog carts are everywhere in Toronto, Canada. It's difficult to find any other type of street fare. Near sports events they will be lined up by the dozens, all selling hot dogs, sausages, vege dogs and pop (soda). The difference between carts is mostly in the freshness of product, particularly buns, and the free add-ons. The best carts have toppings like shredded cheese, raw onion, relish, hot and spicy sauces, etc. The dogs are kept warm in a steam tray and then char broiled on the outside for a few minutes when you order them. Tasty as an occasional treat, but I still wonder about the source of the meat.

I dont know but my favorite hot dogs are hebrew nationals. They're the best. But yet they are too pricey. $3.50 ....just crazy.

I love hot dogs, but hate
I recently bought a hot dog cart from them, and not only was I treated rudely by the president of the company, Ms. Claudia Rios, but I later found out that the carts they are selling fall apart after a week. STAY AWAY FROM THEM. They are THEIVES. Don't let their website fool you.

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