At around 4pm last Monday, we just finished checking out the new Fairmont Pacific Rim and the Olympic Cauldron.   “Monk” was in search of an afternoon snack, since we were still a few hours out from our 7:30pm dinner reservation and though I wanted to go have buck a shucks and Champagne at Coast, she wanted Japadogs.

The Japadog menu

What “Monk” wants “Monk” gets, so I got in line with the rest of the rubes and waited over 40 minutes for 2 hot dogs.  I’ve been eating Japadogs for quite a few years and I like them a lot.  I like the shtick and overall, they’re pretty tasty.  At the location by the Sutton Place Hotel, I’d frequently stop by and pick up a dog for a late afternoon snack or a quick lunch on the go.  In the past little while, Japadog has grown a lot, with multiple locations, a full-blown storefront opening on Robson soon and with recent Olympic press and success, there is talk of expansion into the NYC and LA markets.  Yowza! 

I’ll admit it.  I’m not a terribly patient person.  I hate waiting in lines and will rarely do so willingly.  Time is money, time is of the essence and time is one of the few things in life we can never get back, so how can I be expected to wait patiently in line for anything, particularly a couple of Japanese influenced hot dogs?  Well  I did, I didn’t complain and was told to order a number 2 and number 5.   An okonomi and a ume.  The okonomi is a kurobota pork sausage, with cabbage, bonito flake, mayo and okonomi sauce.  The hot dog was alright, but not fantastic.  The casing of the sausage was very tough, though the taste of all the ingredients together was quite nice.  There was a miniscule portion of cabbage and I barely tasted it at all.  The ume is a bratwurst sausage with thinly sliced onions and a pickle plum sauce.  Though I’m not a big fan of raw onions in general, I found the piquant flavor of the onions, combined with the tang of the ume sauce to be quite pleasant.  The bratwurst sausage was good and overall was a very interesting hotdog.

Issue and concerns; waiting in line for more than a few minutes for a hot dog is absurd.  I waited amongst thousands of other people these past few weeks, so I guess I’m a bit of a whack job.  As far as the dogs go, they’re pretty tasty and the exotic ingredient combinations are quite flavorful.  I think Kurobuta  pork is wasted and improperly showcased in these sausages.  Heritage Berkshire/Kurobuta pork is a special ingredient and deserves to be showcased in a form where the pork is front and center.  Though the sausage tasted nice and was well seasoned, the Kurobuta pork might as well have been lips and tails from a big box industrial pork plant. You would not be able to tell the difference.  The chewy casing was not nice at all and having made my fair share of sausages, completely unacceptable.   Also, I had quite a service issue with Japadog on this particular visit.  I was short-changed .75 when I paid for my food, I’m concerned about the guy handling the money and touching the food, they were completely out of beverages and when I went to pick up my hotdogs, they gave me a teri-mayo(number 1) after they confirmed my order(number 2) a few seconds prior.  There could have been a bit of a communication break down, but not on my behalf.  Will I have more Japadogs in the future?  Yes.  I really do like them and think they are a unique Vancouver entity.  Will I ever wait in line for more that 10 minutes for one?  Hells no.  Unless “Monk” asks me really nicely, no freaking way.

On my chef’s night out scale, Japadog receives 2.5/5 SOB (slices of bacon).

Japadog (Burrard & Pender) on Urbanspoon


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