Enjoyed at baseball games, barbecues and back gardens everywhere, the hot dog is arguably the most universal of all fast foods. As quintessentially American as a poor grasp of geography, every state has developed their own regional specialty, allowing the humble hot dog to blossom into infinite delicious forms.
But it’s not just the US that rules the roost when it comes to sausages. Many countries have their own proud dogging traditions that highlight just how flexible this meaty staple can be. Looking beyond standard American sausage sellers, here are some top notch dogs from around the world.
1. South Africa - Boerie Roll
Looking like a colossal curled worm, boerewors sausages are among the meatiest you can find. Unlike the typically lower quality contents of common dogs, these gigantic swirls always contain at least 90 percent meat from either lamb, pork or beef. Grilled and sandwiched inside fresh, soft white rolls, these dogs deliver on every level.
2. Germany - Bratwurst
With a lineage that can be traced back to the 14th Century, the bratwurst is a dog with a history like no other. Large and meaty, these sausages are famous for their bold flavour as well as distinctive look. Served with sides of sauerkraut and mustard, it’s small wonder that the Germans are world famous for the taste of their sausage.
3. Korea - Hatdogeu
It’s usually a given that hot dogs come paired with some sort of fluffy white roll. In Korea, however, chefs are intent on taking the dog to strange new places. A popular street food snack involves placing the sausage on a stick before covering it in some form of batter, that sometimes includes french fries, before deep frying. Slathered in ketchup and mustard, these deliciously eccentric treats could be the next step in hot dog evolution.
4. Switzerland - Raclette Dog
Hot dog and cheese is a marriage made in heaven. However, when it comes to potential cheesy partners, there’s one suitor that stands head and shoulders above the rest. Melted wheels of Swiss raclette, when drizzled on top of sausage, mustard and baguette, turns straightforward fast food into a transcendent experience. This is one dog to add to the foodie bucket list.
5. Poland - Kielbasa Hot Dog
Embraced with open arms into the melting pot of American cuisine, the kielbasa sausage is famed for being one of the best in the world. It’s small wonder that this Polish specialty, when combined with fried onions, mustard and ketchup, elevates fairly standard hot dog staples into something extraordinary. From the Polish Boys of Cleveland to the sausage sellers of Warsaw, this dog’s international reputation is well earned.
6. Sweden - Tunnsbrodsrulle
It’s not just sausage experimentation that can help a hot dog stand out. Swedish Tunnsbrodsrulle come wrapped in flatbread rather than the traditional roll, and can be paired with all sorts of outlandish fillings. Everything from mashed potatoes to shrimp salad can be crammed in. It may sound unusual, but the Swedes manage to make it work.
7. Mexico - Jochos
If there’s one ingredient guaranteed to make everything better, it’s bacon. The crisp saltiness of a well-cooked rasher is the perfect bedfellow for a chunky sausage, which is why no list of great hot dogs would be complete without a mention of Mexico’s “Jochos”. Also known as “dogos”, these legendary Latin creations feature dogs wrapped in bacon before being fried, not to mention buns laden with onions, jalapeños and mushrooms. For a fiery, flavourful experience, jochos are tough to beat.
One of the joys of hot dog cookery is flexibility. Sausages make great building blocks for a whole host of different flavours, meaning that any chef can tailor a dog to their own specific tastes. For anyone who wants to experience world cuisine through the medium of sausage, we suggest working your way through this list. You’ll never look at dogs the same way again.