America’s Best Hot Dogs
Who's top dog? Our writer ventures a claim for 10 places you have to try.
Bark Hot Dogs in Brooklyn -- New York's finest?
The hot dog is a complicated sausage. Not so much in flavor, but in origin.
The Viennese claim credit, hence the now snicker-worthy nickname "wieners" -- taken from Vienna's name in German, Wien. Frankfurt's not buying it, and instead traces the hot dog back to its own frankfurter wurst, supposedly invented in the 1480s. Still other accounts attribute the ancient sausage to Johann Georghehner, a 17th-century Bavarian butcher who deemed his creation the dachshund, or badger dog.
Wherever it came from, the dog eventually crossed the Atlantic and in the mid-to-late 1800s began popping up in cities like Chicago and New York. In 1867, a German butcher named Charles Feltman set up a hot dog stand in Coney Island, Brooklyn, later inspiring his employee, Nathan Handwerker, to found his own doggerie, Nathan's Famous. Now the best known dog shop in the country, Nathan's still intrigues and disgusts us every year with its July 4th Hot Dog Eating Contest.
By the early 1900s the wiener craze had extended well beyond Coney, as the hot dog followed sausage-loving European immigrants all over the country. To honor the narrowest of iconic American foods, I've profiled 10 great hot dog shops around the country worth an immediate road trip.
Asia Dog - Brooklyn, N.Y. (Brooklyn Flea)
Asia Dog updates N.Y.C.'s foremost street food with a fresh, flavorful trek through a pan-Asian market. Choose from beef, organic beef, chicken, or vegetarian dogs; they're all good, but it's really about the toppings. The "Ito" picks up fiery bite from Japanese curry and apple kimchi while the bright and crunchy "Sidney" sits beneath mango relish and crushed peanuts. Meatheads opt for the rich and decadent "Wangding" -- why not top an already meaty hot dog with Chinese barbecue pork belly?
The menu's finest cultural mash-up is the "Vinh," a banh mi-style dog. Banh mi are a type of Vietnamese sandwich, and like the baguette-bound standard, Asia Dog's interpretation comes topped with pork pate, cucumbers, pickled carrot and daikon, and cilantro: a fresh and crunchy taunt at mustard and ketchup that will have you dropping $3 on another. And another. And so on... Look for Asia Dog on the weekends at the Brooklyn Flea, a trendy flea market packed with tight jeans and delicious food.
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