Suffering The Consequences of Selling Out

Japadog –

I had/have a lot going on today so I couldn’t afford to spend a lot of time on a sit-down lunch. Since I had to drive through downtown around lunch time, I thought I would just grab a few hot dogs from Japadog for my lunch.

The only Japadog location that I have been to prior to today was their Robson storefront. In total, I have visited the restaurant around  6 times. But 4 out of the 6 times I was just there so that my wife could purchase one of their spicy hot dogs. For me, the novelty of the Japanese hot dogs wore off after eating them twice. I had no desire to try the different-flavoured hot dogs from their other locations. I am more of a hot dog traditionalist and usually prefer my hot dogs plain, with mustard and a little bit of raw onions.

So why did I visit Japadog instead of a regular hot dog stand today? I’d like to say that it just so happened to be on the way, but that would be a lie. I visited Japadog today solely because it was the third most popular ‘restaurant’ in Vancouver on urbanspoon. And posting a review of a popular restaurant means that more people will read my reivews. More people reading my reviews means that there are more potential click-throughs to my blog. Which in turn means that more of my other posts will be read…Basically, I’m prostituting myself for more potential visitors to my site.

So for the 93.4% of you who have already tried every ‘dog that Japadog has to offer, please feel free to check out some of my other posts. For the 6.6% of you who is still curious about my lunch today at Japadog, here’s what my wife and I had.

First we had the oroshi dog.

The oroshi dog comprised of a bun, bratwurst sausage, grated daikon, light soy sauce, and some scallion as garnish. The bun was toasted and had an enjoyable crisp to it’s outer crust. The bratwurst tasted like typical bratwurst that is sold in supermarkets. The grated daikon with soy sauce was extremely fragrant. My wife and I ate all the hot dogs in our car and the aromas of the daikon from the oroshi dog permeated every nook and cranny of our car. It overpowered the aromas of the other three hot dogs we had and the daikon aroma lingered long after we were done with all of our hot dogs. It smelled nice while I was eating it, but it’s lingering aromas smelled sorta like soiled diapers when my wife and I re-entered our car after we had parked it for an hour and a half.

I am generally a fan of oroshi dishes. I like it on deep-fried tofu, I like it with grilled fish, I like it in tempura sauce, and I also like in on tonkatsu. But I didn’t like how it tasted on the bratwurst. I didn’t think the herby flavours of the sausage meshed well with the strong-smelling grated daikon. It felt like a forced marriage between a German and a Japanese who spoke no common language. They bratwurst and daikon weren’t able to communicate with each other and their flavours didn’t translate to my taste buds.

The second hot dog we had was the negi miso dog.

The negi miso was an all beef hot dog smothered with miso dressing and topped with some scallions/green onions. Like the oroshi dog, the negi miso also had a nicely toasted bun. Also like the oroshi dog, I didn’t think that the miso flavours necessarily meshed well with the beef hot dog. I felt like I was eating a bowl of ramen while I was consuming the negi miso dog. The flavours of the miso dressing were almost exactly the same as a bowl of miso ramen. The miso flavours were so strong that I wasn’t able to taste any of the usually beefy flavours of the hot dog. To make matters worse, the frank was severely overcooked. It was so overcooked that it shriveled up like the wrinkled skin of a shar-pei. It was so dry that it became incredibly tough to chew. By the time my wife and I were halfway done with eating this hot dog, our jaws became so sore that we gave up on eating any more of it.

Our third hot dog was the beef terimayo.

The terimayo is their signature ‘dog. It is basically a beef hot dog topped with mayonnaise, teriyaki sauce, cooked onions, and nori. I actually liked this hot dog the first time that I had it. It was very different and the flavours worked. But it was something that should only be had once. Once I had it for the second time, the sweetness of the hot dog became a bit too much to bear for me.

I ordered it today because I wanted to compare it with the pork kurobuta terimayo hot dog, which I have never had before. The beef terimayo was not as sweet as I remembered it to be. The sweetness was bearable for the first few bites and I was able to differentiate between the sweet flavours of the teriyaki sauce and the sweet mayo. The creaminess of the mayo worked well with the noticeable beefy flavours of the frankfurter. The cooked onions provided a crispness that was a nice textural contrast with the creamy mayo, the crunchy nori, and the snappy hot dog. I felt all of this in the first two or three bites that I had. After that, everything blended into a sweet mess and I stopped eating it so that I could move on to to eating the kurobuta terimayo hot dog.

This was the best hot dog today. The kurobuta sausage was extremely flavourful and the teriyaki-mayo dressing worked better with the kurobuta flavours than the beef flavours of the beef terimayo ‘dog. The kurobuta was so flavourful that it never allowed the terimayo sauce to take over and create a blur of sweetness. The aromas of the kurobuta combined with the flavours of the Japanese mayo to result in a flavour similar to cheese. The kurobuta sausage also enhanced the flavours of the teriyaki sauce, singling out the flavours of  it’s soy, mirin, and wine (sake?) components. This was the only hot dog that my wife and I managed to finish today.

If I learned a lesson from my Japadog lunch today, it was this: never prostitute your taste buds for eyeballs. (…I’m probably revealing my age by using a dot com bubble era buzzword…) I consider my lunch today at Japadog to be a meal lost. And once a meal is lost, it will never come back…At least not on the same day. Man, I’m so hungry right now just thinking about the lost meal. I’m so hungry I can’t even think of a conclusion to this post…I going to go boil up one of the hot dogs I have in the freezer. Actually, I’ll have three. One each to make up for the three bad hot dogs I had today.

Japadog (Burrard & Smithe) on Urbanspoon


About dontcallmeafoodblogger

Just like most people can think of a song that perfectly fits the mood of a moment or a particular situation, I often think about meals or dishes that would be perfect for a specific moment. Most of my thoughts are about food and I think in terms of food. To me, food is much more than something you ingest, desire, crave, or dislike. It relates to culture, to family, to politics, and to every other aspect of my life. I admit I might be a little obsessed and maybe even addicted to food, but I've been afflicted all my life. I was born with it and with this outlet for my food thoughts, I'll have a chance to run wild with it.
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6 Responses to Suffering The Consequences of Selling Out

  1. iamonlyhereforthefood says:

    I won’t call it a sell out but sort of a rite of passage: in each town/city there is a restaurant pretty much everybody has to visit… (Phnom Penh another example of such places and you blogged it already). Since Japadog is cheaper and easily accessible compared to other places, I guess that’s part of the reason why everybody (and their dogs) have blogged about it.

    As for Japadog itself, I outgrew it long time ago. If I were blogging it nowadays, I would put it as “passable” at best. Once you know the ingredients, you can replicate it at home. And, in this case, you can create a Japadog equivalent of your own using the sausage or weiner of your choice and mix-and-match some of the condiments. In fact, a friend of mine did that last year at her place and that fact made it a winner, as some people weren’t too keen in seaweed or the horse radish with kelpi mayo.

    Just to throw in my nickel’s worth (since pennies are pretty much gone): another one that might be be going on the way of the dodo would be porchetta – specially those of us who are Asians. As I have mentioned in other blogs, you can get a baguette at the bakery/supermarket of your choice and one pound of roasted pork at your Chinese BBQ shop of your choice. At a grand total of $10 (add/take a toonie), you can easily make four such porchetta equivalent sandwiches. But, then again, that’s just me!

    • That’s exactly what my wife said to me after she had the porchetta sandwich at Meat & Bread. Roast pork from Parker Place BBQ with some supermarket baguette or ciabatta would probably taste as good, if not better.
      Though not exactly roast pork, but I think the crispy pata (pork hock) at Max’s would also work well in a sandwich. The skin is just as crispy as roast pork skin and the fibrous but tender meat is like a cross between roast pork and pulled pork.

      • Kevin says:

        Wow…both of your thoughts on Japadog and Meat & Bread are exactly how I feel. Especially the porchetta sandwich…growing up on the roasted pork from Chinatown, the sandwich didn’t seem special to me. I’ve been to both Japadog and M&B exactly once each time, and don’t plan on repeating. And there is a new M&B located on West Pender, and from the huge lineups, I’d say that everyone has had a sip of the M&B kool-aid. =(

  2. I’ve had meals that have “come back” the same day… sometimes right after eating it… trust me, you don’t want that.

  3. Oh man, some of those hot dogs look soooo good!

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