Japadog has only been in Los Angeles for about a month and already the popular Vancouver hot dog cart is rubbing tongs with some of L.A.’s food truck royalty in Venice during the always-rollicking First Fridays. It was this stretch of Abbot Kinney where I got my first taste of Japadog—Cali style.
Of the over 20 different Japanese fusion hot dog styles listed on Japadog’s website, only eight are currently available in L.A. The wacky weenie purveyor is getting a feel for the local appetite and its tube steak predilections. I checked out five of the most creative Japadogs and found some interesting suprises:
- Okonomi: Nothing says Japanese comfort food like the savory Japanese pancake called okonomiyaki. This is the hot dog version: An all-beef hot dog zig-zagged with tart Japanese mayo and savory okonomi sauce then piled high with fried cabbage and heaps of shaved bonito flakes. Basically, this is okonomiyaki in a bun.
- Oroshi: This one uses a juicy, beautifully charred pork brat that’s been spiral cut and smothered with grated daikon radish. Special soya sauce and chopped green onion add more layers of flavor. The earthy spiciness of the daikon and succulent brat match up in a way that German sauerkraut might.
- Avocado: Quintessentially Californian, the Avocado Dog is lush and creamy with its intricately layered slices of avocado, striped with Japanese mayo that’s been torched, sitting atop an all-beef weenie.
- Yakisoba: This isn’t quite the hot dog version of a ramen burger, but still, it’s pretty awesome. Skinny, stir-fried strands of soba noodle add a fun texture to the hot dog experience. A hint of spunky red ginger and custom seaweed powder make this sausage pop.
- Terimayo: Although not too extreme on the bizarre scale, the Terimayo Japadog must be listed simply because it is really delicious. The teriyaki sauce and Japanese mayo blend into sweet, silky bliss, while the crispy, umami-riddled kizami nori and bed of grilled onions contribute a savory bite. It’s no wonder this Japadog is the best seller—and top dog.
Japadogs are substantial. One dog can be very filling. Even world class competitive eater Kobayashi could only eat three in one sitting, according to Japadog’s Hideki Aizawa. (Must’ve been an off day.)
Be on the look out for more toppings and flavors shortly, as Japadog makes itself comfortable in L.A. Soon there’ll be custom beef dogs, pork sausages, salmon, and, even tofu dogs.