Sure, yesterday was thanksgiving and we made it back to the States in time to celebrate but featuring turkey just doesn’t seem right to us, given that it is virtually impossible to find anywhere south of the border. Instead, in honor of Turkey Day, we figured we’d offer our readers a taste of another USA treat. One we know and love that just hasn’t been the same south of the border: the hot dog.
There is an expression sometimes uttered in Washington, that the two things you never want to see made: sausages and laws. I don’t disagree. So we’ll skip the creation process of these encased little snacks and instead focus on the different varieties we’ve tasted.
Guatemala– the rather tasteless cheveres scared us a bit and we generally shied away. Only available after dark on the street they always smelled a bit foul and the fixins were never particularly appetizing.
Colombia– we had our first taste of the South American version of the hot dog, where it was actually called a perrito caliente (little hot dog). It was smothered in smashed up plantain or potato chips, doused with an army of sauces and covered with onions. The chips were really what separated it from the NYC variety, that and that in Colombia the one we had was microwaved instead of flame cooked or boiled in water.
Brazil– I don’t remember what they called it, but we ate it at a stand in Cuiaba. It was on a toasted bun with cheese, ham, hot dog, lettuce, ketchup, mayo, crunchie fries and tomato. It was by far the greasiest piece of meat we’ve eaten in our entire lives. We felt sick afterwards.
Bolivia– Instead of just a hot dog, Bolivia is a fan of salchipapas (also common in Peru), cut up hot dog on french fries. The hot dog isn’t the highlight, but with all that grease on one plate, it can’t taste bad. Plus, they always had ketchup. Yum.
Argentina- had in my opinion, the most fun with the hot dog called a Super Pancho. In these the dog was usually about a foot long, if not longer, and didn’t come close to fitting inside the bun. The number of sauces piled on top (ketchup, mustard, mayo, golf sauce) is rather unsettling and these are almost never sold in street side stands and instead are sold in small Super Pancho shops. The best part is that like Colombia and Brazil, crunchy potato sticks are put all over the top.
Chile- very similar to Argentina except that the sauces we tried were all… unsettling. Also called a pancho, and the one we tried in Santiago, well we did have video, but trust us you wouldn’t want to see it.
In truth though, nothing comes close to a good Sabrett or Hebrew National dog from a NYC vendor, covered in ketchup (a rarity anywhere but the USA) mustard, onions, relish, and maybe some onions and if you’re really lucky some chili sauce. In fact, just thinking about the late night dogs we used to get in college from Manouch has me salivating. Washington, D.C.’s specialty is the half-smoke, a plump and short spicy beef dog served on a plain bun or better yet at Ben’s served smothered in chili. Since we haven’t been up to New York (or even Washington, DC) in awhile we had to ask a friend to fine one to enjoy for us…it wasn’t too difficult to convince him to do it though.
(Jill’s Editors Note: Danny was raised by a New Yorker, so he’s completely biased. This post is clearly wrong. He has left our the best hot dog on the planet- the Chicago Char-Dog. A char-broiled beef delight covered in ketchup, mustard, onions and kosher dill slices served on a poppy seed bun. Hmm… it just makes my mouth water. Anyone know where I can get one of these on the east coast before mid-december?)