Sandwich Link: JAPADOG

January 30, 2012

I recently found this website, and I can’t stop thinking about it.  It belongs to a Canadian hot dog stand chain called JAPADOG, whose stated mission is “making the world happy and alive through hot dogs!”  The chain boasts five locations in Vancouver and a new one in New York City.  JAPADOG prepares their hot dogs “Japanese-style,” which means that they include a number of traditional Japanese vegetables, sauces, and even meats in their recipes.

No JAPADOG, No Life!!

The thing I love most about JAPADOG is their boundless enthusiasm for hot dogs.  The owners are truly living their dreams, as evidenced by the comparatively detailed history section on the website.  Although the English isn’t always perfect, the website is fun and ambitious.  It’s not often I come across someone whose passion for sandwiches rivals my own, and it’s a nice feeling.

I have no idea what kind of hot dogs these are, but they look AWESOME.

The hot dogs at JAPADOG also look delicious.  I’ve always wanted to eat hot dogs with regional themese, and the use of Japanese ingredients lends it a somewhat classier look.  (These are the kinds of recipes I expected from the famed Yesterdog of Grand Rapids, by the way.  I got pickles and mustard with a side of condescension instead.)  A couple offerings which look particularly tasty are the terimayo, which includes teriyaki sauce, mayo and seaweed, the yakisoba, which is an arabiki sausage topped with noodles, and the ebichiki, which is a shrimp sausage topped with chili sauce and dried shrimp.  They also offer traditional undressed hot dogs, for the less adventurous visitors.

All in all, JAPADOG looks great.  I don’t anticipate being in Vancouver or NYC any time soon, but next time I am it’s definitely on my list.  Anyone who’s in the area, be sure to check them out and let me know what you think in the comments.  And on a related note, can any Japanese readers confirm that this is anything like how hot dogs are prepared in Japan?  I honestly have no idea.

I kind of try to avoid talking about my personal life on Sandwichtalk, but I was recently hired by the Kalamazoo Gazette as a news section intern (you can see my work here).  One of the effects of this job is that for the first time, I’m in downtown Kalamazoo between the hours of 11 and 3, when the hot dog shop Dogs With Style is open.  Dogs With Style is a bit of a rarity in this day and age; a cheap lunch option with limited hours and a menu of hot dogs and other quick sandwiches, french fries, and a couple of soups.  Seating is limited, and they actually have a walk-up window outside to the street.

The Polish Dog on the left, and the Chicago on the right.

I ordered the Chicago Dog and the Polish Dog, and was impressed by both. The Polish was a bratwurst with sauerkraut and spicy brown mustard.  It was good, and both the bratwurst itself and the sauerkraut were generously portioned.  I had tried a Chicago-style hot dog previously but hadn’t been too impressed with it.  This one was much better.  The inclusion of celery salt was a small but important addition, and while the hot dog frank itself wasn’t quite on the level of Steak ‘n’ Shake’s, the other ingredients, namely the chopped onions and tomatoes, tasted fresher and much more authentic.  While I’m still warming up to Chicago-style, this is obviously the place to do it.

All of the hot dogs and most of the sandwiches at Dogs With Style cost $2.50.  You can get a cheap combo, which includes fries and a drink, but the two hot dogs themselves made a pretty satisfying lunch.  Dogs With Style is on Burdick Street next to the Kalamazoo State Theatre, and if you happen to be going to lunch downtown, it’s a good bet.

As part of a marketing push for the re-release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, French fast food chain Quick is offering a couple of Star Wars-themed burgers.  They have a Jedi burger with onions and a spicy-looking Darth Maul burger, but the sandwich which has attracted the most attention is the “Darth Vador Burger,” a hamburger which includes cheese, Thousand Island-style dressing and from the looks of it, some kind of hot peppers, all on a jet-black bun.

"I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."

The bun is apparently just dyed, and not new flavors have been added to go along with the coloring.  Adding strange colors to fast food isn’t a new gimmick; I remember about twelve years ago Burger King ran a promotion about green ketchup and barbeque sauce.  But dying your bun a color normally associated with burnt food may not be the best decision, Star Wars be damned.  Since it’s exclusive to the French/Belgian chain, it’s unlikely I’ll be able to try this burger, which is a shame.  But if any French Sandwichtalk readers come across it and decide to give it a try, be sure to post your thoughts in the comments.  May the Force be with you.