Why is Japa Dog so famous? What makes locals and tourists alike seek out one of the two specialty hot dog stands found on the streets of Vancouver, BC? Is it really worth the relatively high price tag for street meat? I mean, you could get two regular hot dogs for the price of one Japa Dog...
E thinks that I equate price to quality, but I'm very open-minded about food. I don't have to eat at high-end restaurants to be impressed (although I like to visit those as well). In fact, one of my guilty pleasures is the street hot dog. If I could eat one every other day without concern over my health, I would. On the other day I'd eat poutine.
During a recent visit to Vancouver, one of my missions was to find a Japa Dog stand and eat my way through it.
Well, I did it.
Japa Dog is widely-known for its Japanese hot dogs. What makes them "Japanese" are the toppings: dried bonito flakes, seaweed, teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, wasabi mayo, soy sauce, radish, green onionIf you're asking, "ORLY? On a hot dog? Doesn't sound so appetizing..." (gag) then you're missing out. Let me introduce them:
miso sesami sauce, Japanese mayo, radish sprouts, Turkey smokie
I ranked this one #2 out of four. I've become a big fan of Japanese mayo after this stint, and must find it in Toronto! Supposedly, it is a yellow tube with a cute cartoon character and does not have English labeling. It's more "eggy" than the Hellmans that I am used to.
special Okonomi sauce, Japanese mayo, fried cabbage, dried bonito flakes, Kurobuta pork
This one is more expensive than the other options because of the Kurobuta pork. It's from a special "Japanese black hog" that has very sweet and well-marbled meat, and is the "Kobe/Wagyu beef" of pork. Because I drove back to UBC campus before devouring everything, the bonito flakes were soggy. It was not my favourite because nothing really differentiated it from the others aside from being very sweet. Not a bad dog, but a bit too sweet for my tastes. I ranked this #3 out of four.
special soy sauce, grated radish, green onion, bratwurst
I actually like certain dishes with radishes, but I guess I don't like it in the grated form. Nothing special about this dog. I ranked this one #4 out of four. I would be willing to try this again "fresh" since it was pretty soggy by the time I got to it.
teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, fried onions, seaweed, all beef
This one was the clear winner! There is a reason that the TeriMayo is the most popular Japa Dog. In fact, there are many reasons which all culminate into the single fact that it just tastes SO good.
There's a little sweet (teriyaki sauce), a little salty (the beef sausage), smooth (mayo), aromatic (fried onions, which I love) and seaweed strips for a little more texture and salt.
Yum yum yum! Japa Dog, please expand to Toronto!
Locations: Burrard/Smithe and Burrard/Pender
Vancouver, British Columbia