Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Meet JapaDog: My newest Superhero

An admitted (Anthony) Bourdainophile, when I knew we were headed to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver actual event tickets were not the only thing on my mind (although ice hockey was definitely up there). The local eateries of this foodie town were just as much a priority. After we took in the Canada-Germany quarterfinal match, we cheerfully trudged through the rain on a mission to find all those delicacies that you can't find at home: bubble tea, poutine and street meat.

Street Meat: Get your mind out of the gutter. I'm referring to any variety of meat sold by a street vendor. This includes hot dogs, sausages, kebab, steak sandwiches, meat-on-a-stick, etc. (Most vendors now have vegetarian options as well.)

On my Top Ten List of city street meat, Vancouver's JapaDog is currently up, up and away my favorite! The city-tailored variations of Japanese hot dogs at the corner of Burrard and Smithe have real "special sauces" like Okonimiyaki, Plum, Teriyaki and Soy. (Sorry McDonald's Big Mac.) We sampled the Spicy Cheese Terimayo: a jalapeno and cheese smokie with seaweed, teriyaki sauce and Japanese mayo; and Okonomi: the coveted Kurobuta ("most valuable" Berkshire pork) with fried cabbage, Bonito flakes, Japanese mayo and special Okonomiyaki sauce. The play of sweet and spicy, softness and crunch, and smokiness and honeyed meant that I did not share and there were no crumbs left.

My advice: if you're in Vancouver, take a stroll and look for the red JapaDog umbrellas and realize that line for two blocks is well worth the wait. And for such gourmet, cheap eats ($6.25 or less/dog), remember to tip your Superhero vendors!

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