Somehow I don’t think Perry Como’s No. 1 hit Hot Diggity (Dog Ziggity Boom) in 1956 was about craving a hot dog, and neither is the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse’s relatively new sing-along. As my son explained to me: “It’s got nothing to do with hot dogs; it’s just a happy song!”
Happiness is learning that the trendsetters have singled out hot dogs to be the craze this year. If that means pop-up street vendors selling hot dogs from carts are about to nest on every corner, please can I ask that one spring up outside our offices?
Needless to say I’m sure that the word ‘artisan’ will pop up and footlongs will be garnished with fancy toppings by our top chefs – think kimchi-style tah tsai, caramelised whortleberry and Piment d’Esplette. (For those who want to scrub up on their gourmet know-how: tah tsai is a leafy vegetable used in Asian cuisine; whortleberry is a European blueberry; and Piment d’Esplette is a Protected Designation of Origin pepper grown in France.)
New York hot dogs are the bee’s knees: soft, soft rolls that are always warm and stuffed with a Vienna kind of sausage (but so much better), and then a squeeze of spicy yellow mustard and a layer of sauerkraut. Some say the street vendors’ variety is even better than the institutional ones at Gray’s Papaya – and the best thing is that they’re on nearly every corner. Back at home The Power and the Glory in Kloof Nek Road, Cape Town, has made a name for their great ‘dogs too.
A good boerie roll sold on the pavement outside a butchery is South Africa’s kind of sausage street food. I eyed a pavement braai a few Saturdays ago outside Braeside Meat Market in Parkhurst and, going on their outstanding quality and dedication to meat, I’m sure they’re hard to beat. I have also just discovered a real deal hot dog stand at Oliver Tambo Airport, which goes pretty well with a vida e caffè cappuccino.
But when it comes to sausage on a roll, the first place I head to is Raith Gourmet – and have done so for years. This great German deli and butchery in Gardens (another branch recently opened in Constantia) is super: their grilled curry wurst, bratwurst, bockwurst, knackwurst and weisswurst, bursting out of a crispy buttered white roll, are hot favourites. (The queue says it all.) It’s pure sausage heaven.
Photograph: Shinsuke Ikegame