My search for the best hot dog in New York continues….
New York has so many different cuisines that it’s pretty hard to find something new anymore. That’s why molecular gastronomy was all the rage ten years ago and why Asian fusion food continues to be exciting and groundbreaking. Street food seems to be taking the helm with things like Korean Mexican food (we have four trucks in NYC alone doing this), Japanese tacos, and Chinese Indian fusion.
AsiaDog is one of two venues in the city (look for a review of Japadog soon enough) selling Asian-influenced hot dogs. They both began as mobile food businesses and have expanded to brick and mortar ventures.
I’ve sampled some of AsiaDog’s wieners over the years at places like Brooklyn Flea and Madison Square Eats. I must say I was never overly impressed, but an official visit to their tiny Little Italy cubbyhole was in order.
A blackboard up above allows you to customize your order, choosing from four varieties of sausages, a combination of Asian-influenced toppings, and a choice of white or wheat bread.
Sometimes choices make things too difficult for me so after moments of strategizing, I tried to stick with the flavors that would be comparable to the classic NY dog. Most are made from some combination of beef, so I gave those a try here.
First up was the Ginny, which sounded the most simple with a topping of homemade kimchi and nori flakes. The colors made for a beautiful looking hot dog and I asked for this one with the nitrate-free organic beef. While this was no doubt a healthier option, the flavor of the beef didn’t quite come through. It tasted a little flat with very little snap.
I also thought the bright crunchy kimchi would work in a similar way to pickles. But it didn’t have much kick and although it worked nicely with the smoky, briny nori flakes (dried seaweed), I didn’t feel like either added much to the hot dog. I had to get up for a side of yellow mustard.
For the Sidney, I did not go the healthy way and instead chose their standard Schaller & Weber beef dog as a base. This charred wiener was thinner, but had a more intense salty flavor with a much more pronounced snap. I wish I didn’t have to report that the nitrates seem to help with the flavor and experience of the hot dog.
On top is a bed of refreshing sweetness that complemented the junkier frank. A nice cooling relish of mango, cucumbers, and red onions brought some serious flavors while the crushed peanuts added texture. This bun was strangely burned at the edges with a nice toasted texture throughout.
The flavors on both were good, but I’m not convinced that these Asian toppings really elevate the hot dog. I suppose it’s fun and gimmicky, but aside from something different and some pretty toppings, AsiaDog has not convinced me that we need this fusion of flavors. Some classics still work just the way they are.
Does AsiaDog have the best hot dog in NY? It’s certainly not traditional and while the flavors are distinct, I don’t think it adds much to the already flavorful frankfurter. 7 out of 10.