Hongkongers are tucking into the humble hot dog with .
Title : Hongkongers are tucking into the humble hot dog with .
PDF summary : Hot dogs are loaded with salt, often have additives . in Hong Kong are getting the recipe just right. . croutons, Parmesan cheese, Caesar.Creationdate : 2012-October-10
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Moddate : 2012-October-12
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COVER STORY 7
Hot dogs are loaded with
salt, often have additives
and preservatives, and are
not known for containing
prime cuts. So what is it about this
less than healthy food that makes it
so appealing to so many?
“Hey, they’re bad for you, we
know that and you don’t really want
to know what’s in them. But once in
a while the combination of
frankfurter, bun, ketchup, mustard,
relish and sauerkraut is one of the
great joys in life,” says Scott Murphy,
a New Jersey native and long-time
Hong Kong resident.
For Murphy, a good hot dog
should look and taste like a meal
that leaves you feeling satisfied. The
frankfurter should have the requisite
snap when you bite into it.
“Toppings are really important,
too: the more relish, sauerkraut,
onions, chilli, you name it, you can
put on a dog, the better,” he says.
Hot dog enthusiast Ned Kelly,
originally from Scotland, says it is
about quality: “Toppings are
important, but they shouldn’t be
there to hide poor quality franks.
Quality is paramount, served, of
course, in a fresh bun.”
DJ and F&B professional Andy
Curtis, a Briton who has lived in
Hong Kong for much of his life,
looks for a bite that is “juicy, tasty
meat, not dry, with a crunchy but
not chewy skin served in a soft,
An increasing number of outlets
in Hong Kong are getting the recipe
just right. The Frank, which opened
in mid-September, is one. Candace
Suen got inspiration for the 11 dogs it
offers when she visited the US.
All the classics such as the New
York (with mustard and sauerkraut),
the Coney Island (mustard,
sauerkraut and onions) and the
Chicago (mustard, onion, sweet
pickle relish, pickle, tomato, chillies
and celery salt) are available.
The outlet also offers Asian-
inspired hot dogs created by Suen,
such as the Thai (spicy chorizo
frank, Thai chilli mayo, pork floss,
crispy onion and fresh chilli). For
spice lovers there is the suicide
(spicy chorizo, grilled onions, spicy
mayo, jalapeno, crispy onions).
Customers can also create their own
hot dog by choosing from five franks
and 18 toppings.
Hongkongers are tucking into the
humble hot dog with increasing
relish, writes Vicki Williams
Expect to see The Frank opening
in other locations.
Wonderdog was opened at the
end of May by Patrick Chen, whose
love of dogs goes back to his
His father would place
frankfurters and buns on the table,
with Chen free to add whatever
toppings he wanted. Chen believes a
frank and a bun are a blank slate on
which to create. Wonderdog has 10
Nothing is run-of-the-mill here.
The Caesar, for example, combines a
frankfurter with romaine lettuce,
croutons, Parmesan cheese, Caesar
sauce and aged balsamic vinegar.
Brave diners should sample the
devil dog, which comes with a
warning on the menu: “This dog is
friggin’ spicy”. It’s a warning
repeated by the server.
Despite the warning, many have
returned it, complaining that it is too
hot. The vivid, blood-red sauce is a
mix of habanero chilli, mayo, and
beetroot juice (for colour).
Describing it as hot is an
Shirley Wong is another
Hongkonger with a love of dogs.
This stems from many years spent in
England. Wong opened Pi Hot Dog
Gallery last December.
The small cafe-style business
offers a staggering 29 options,
including the classic house dog, the
popular Chicago hot dog, and more
They’re bad for you,
and you don’t want to
know what’s in them.
But the combination of
frankfurter and bun is
one of life’s joys
SCOTT MURPHY, FRANKFURTER FAN
inventive choices such as the
wasabi egg salad dog. Another
customer favourite is the spicy chilli
dog, an extra-long grilled cheese
frankfurter served on a heated bun
and topped with hot mustard,
jalapeno, sauerkraut and ketchup.
That is good enough to make the
journey there worthwhile. The tiny
Hotdog Family, on the floor below, is
also co-owned by Wong, attracting a
With its mostly alfresco dining on
a tree-lined pavement, JHD
American Gourmet & Bar feels a
world away from the usual hustle of
the city. The ambience of the venue,
which opened last year, is more
reminiscent of Sydney or Brooklyn.
There are only six choices
(as well as burgers and pasta): US
relish, sweet grilled, hot chilli, farm
fresh, original cheese and Japanese,
with an option to have a frankfurter
On a day that involved eating five
hot dogs, the farm fresh appealed, as
it included tomato, cucumber and
onion, finished with salad cream (an
idea that worked). The only
complaint was that the bun was
longer than the meat.
One recommendation of
Murphy’s is Sidewalk. Located in the
heart of Lan Kwai Fong, it is one of
the few places to get a dog in the
small hours, after a few pints. “They
seem to care about their dogs,” he
says. The three choices (beef,
chicken or pork) come with onion,
mustard and sauerkraut, with an
option to include ketchup.
It is the generous amount of
delicious sauerkraut balanced by
cooked onion that makes them top
dogs. The frankfurters were not the
best we tasted. They no doubt taste
better at 2am.
Curtis recommends Big Dog.
This hole-in-the-wall establishment
serves eight dogs. All have
interesting condiment combos. For
example, the Vienna comes with
corn, egg salad and pineapple, while
the frankfork is a tasty combo of
frankfurter, fresh tomato, sauerkraut
and bacon, finished with lashings of
mustard and ketchup.
While they may not be visually
appealing, with the bun dressed
rather than the dog, they are served
very hot, and taste as a good hot dog
Given its long lunchtime queues
and its afternoon tea crowd buying
boxes of hot dogs to take back to the
office, Wing Lok Yuen Restaurant is
probably a good place for what is
referred to as a “local-style” dog. The
frankfurters are the small variety
that come in a tin, as the cans on the
But the secret sauce really makes
these something special. Smothered
on both sides of the warm bun, the
pale yellow sauce tastes like a mix of
melted cheese and mayonnaise,
with hints of gherkin and mustard. It
was surprisingly delicious. The
franks have a peppery taste that is
offset by the slightly sweet sauce.
The best option for flavour balance
is the double dog, which has two
franks on one bun.
Brat attracts a well-heeled
clientele and is much more
expensive than the others we visited.
It is the only one to add a service
charge. There is a choice of 12 dogs,
including a vegan option. They can
all be washed down with a beer or
glass of wine. Each brat (and the one
frankfurter) is given its own flavour
profile, such as the Italian (black
pepper, fennel seed, red pepper).
We tried the classic Frank (mustard,
paprika, onion, garlic).
Diners select a bun (signature or
rye), a condiment from a choice of
eight and a mustard from a selection
of five. Additional toppings cost
extra. Expectations for the sausages
were high. The restaurant describes
them as artisanal, using only the
best ingredients, with meat free
from hormones and antibiotics, and
all natural casings. On the plus side
the frank had a great snap, the bread
was warm and soft, and it was tasty.
But it’s costly for what you get.
“A hot dog before a night out isn’t
a bad idea. A hot dog after a night
out always seems like a good idea.
But to me, a hot dog any time is a
great idea,” says Kelly. With such
variety, Kelly and other dog lovers
are well served.