You need to try these 6 International hot dog styles

Photo via Getty Images/Theerawan Bangpran

You need to try these 6 International hot dog styles

International Cuisine

You need to try these 6 International hot dog styles

There are so many things to love about traveling, about collecting new passport stamps and leaving your first set of footprints in a place you’ve never been before. For me, every new city is an excuse to eat…a new hot dog. I am flat-out obsessed with hot dogs (as I might’ve mentioned before), and love the seemingly endless variations of encased meats and assorted condiments. And the more hot dog joints, hole-in-the-wall restaurants and convenience stores you visit, the more opportunities you have to talk to people who aren’t also visiting from, say, Cleveland. (The one exception to that rule is at Reykjavik’s most famous pylsur stand, because everyone you know is in Reykjavik right now).

Although I haven’t tried all of the ‘dogs on this list, here are six international styles that should be on your To Do list when you’re in a handful of European, Asian and South American countries. And when a pleasant Swede asks if you want the shrimp salad on your tunnbrödsrulle, say yes.

Iceland

Before my first trip to Reykjavik, everyone both online and in real life told me to try the hot dogs. Less than two hours after my flight landed, I was standing in the long line that seems to always stretch outward from the tiny Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur hot dog stand. The hot dog has been called Iceland’s unofficial national food, and these dogs are made from a combination of Icelandic lamb, pork and beef. Locals tend to order them with everything, which means ketchup, a brown mustard called pylsusinnep (no one will ask you to pronounce it), a creamy remoulade, fried onions and raw onions. “[T]he true Icelandic hot dog has it all. Lamb meat included,” the Reykjavik Grapevine wrote. “Find your apple ketchup, break out the mayo-cousin remoulade and go for it. Do not try to shy away from the distinctive taste of the moor-roaming animals by adding two layers of that sweet, brown mustard. Embrace it, be brave, and maybe you’ll move a step closer to finding your inner Icelander.” Yes, embrace it, eat it, and then get back in that slow-moving line for another one.

South Korea

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#myeongranghotdog #thailand 😜

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During her first trip to Seoul, one Serious Eats writer was immediately overwhelmed by both the amount and the variety of street food in the city. She said that the majority of it seemed to share two important characteristics: it was deep-fried and often served on a stick. This goes for hot dogs too, which are batter-dipped, deep-fried and look like more impressive versions of our own corn dogs. They’re also SO MUCH BETTER. The Kogo, for example, is basically a corn dog that is encased in a layer of French fries (oh yes, the fries surround the breading, for a double-fried layer that is guaranteed to knock a year or two off your life expectancy). At Myeongrang Hot Dog, an eternally buzzed-about hot dog chain, some varieties are filled with mozzarella, rolled in sugar, or even dipped in chocolate. BRB, booking a flight to Seoul.

Colombia

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Amazing #colombianhotdogs #cartagena #colombia

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On her cooking website, “My Colombian Recipes,” Colombian-born U.S. transplant Erica Dinho wrote that the three things she missed the most about her home country were her friends, her family, and the food. I don’t know her friends or her family, but Colombian hot dogs – perros calientes – would probably be No. 1 on my list. “In Colombia we don’t grill the hotdogs or salchichas, we boil them, and the toppings include coleslaw, pineapple sauce, ketchup, mayonnaise, mustard and potato chips,” she says. Potato. Chips. On. The. Hot. Dog. This is why that emoji with heart-shaped eyes exists.

Chile

The good people of Chile also put mayonnaise on their hot dogs, but they use a lot of it. The traditional completo (or completo-completo) is covered with chopped tomatoes, sauerkraut, and mayo. More mayo than that. A little more. One more squeeze. There you go. Other popular variations include the completo Italiano, which may or may not replace the sauerkraut with mashed avocado (or you can have both), and the completo a lo pobre, which buries the hot dog underneath a pile of french fries and fried onions, and is topped with a fried egg. “It should not work. It should not be legal,” Lucky Peach editor-in-chief Chris Ying said. “But something about the temperature contrast of the hot, salty dog and cold, bracing sauerkraut, and the thick layers of intermingling fat in the form of avocado and mayo, just clicks.”

Brazil

While we’re talking South American hot dogs, we can’t forget Brazil’s contribution, the cachorro quente. “The key to the Brazilian hot dog’s success is in pile-driving ingredients on top. The wiener itself is nothing special; rather, the stars of the show are the toppings,” OZY writes. And those toppings are…something, and if you want to find the hot dog, you’re going to have to eat your way through ground beef, diced bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, canned corn, grated parmesan, shredded carrots, diced ham or bacon, cilantro, fried shoestring potatoes and a hard-boiled quail egg. And if that’s not enough, some vendors add a layer of mashed potatoes too. Magrinho, a well-known hot dog vendor in Rio de Janeiro, sells a “normal” hot dog that has five (!!!) sausages – in addition to a mountain of mashed potatoes and crispy shoestrings. “What I do is not a sandwich, it’s a work of art,” he told OGlobo.

Sweden

 “What evil genius first thought of combining shrimp salad and a hot dog?” Anthony Bourdain said, the first time he ate tunnbrödsrulle in Sweden. “This is the most disgusting thing ever, and I love it.” Like the Brazilian cachorro quente, tunnbrödsrulle also involves a hot dog surrounded by mashed potatoes, but Sweden’s contribution to wiener cuisine is much more complicated. Instead of a bun, the Swedes start with a thin flatbread called tunnbröd, which is used as a base for the mashed potatoes, the ‘dog itself, shredded lettuce, mayo, shrimp salad, ketchup, mustard and onions. (Some people do swap the shrimp salad for Bostongurka, a pickle relish). It’s wrapped into a cone and, as Bourdain’s Swedish host told him, you’ll probably want to attack it with a fork first. “That’s a hideous load of goodness,” Bourdain said. As usual, he was right.

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