How interesting to know the history of some classic dishes that are already in our imagination, right? I love doing this research, especially when I travel, and of course I am sure to share these “discoveries” with you. Everyone must have eaten a classic hot dog and, although I am a vegetarian today, this simple and cheap food has been a big part of my life.
Recently Paulo and I traveled to New York and it is really impossible not to notice how this “dish” is so common in the city. New Yorkers love food to eat on the way, the famous eat on the go, and as expected, the hot dog is perfect for that lifestyle. But how did this sausage served on the bun and accompanied by mustard and sauerkraut end up in the Big Apple?
It all starts with the invention of the sausage which, it seems, was in Germany. Although meat wrapped in animal skins has been produced for more than 20,000 years and is even considered a delicacy at the time of the Roman Emperors, it was in 1487, in the city of Frankfurt, that sausage was invented. The city of Vienna, Austria, also claims the creation. For this reason the famous sausage made with pork was called frankfurter or viener.
In the middle of the 19th century, the sausage arrived in the United States through the hands of German immigrants and it was not long before it was successful. To be considered a true hot dog, one more element is needed: the bread roll. A German immigrant started selling the sausage wrapped in a sauerkraut-based bread on a cart at Bowey, New York. As early as 1871, Charles Feltman, a German baker, opened a specialty store on Coney Island and sold more than 3,500 hot dogs in the first year.
However, I have not yet explained to you the origin of the term hot dog, huh? The most likely theory is that along with sausages, German immigrants also brought dachshund puppies, in German, to the US dachshund. As the shape of the dog resembles parsley, the Germans themselves began to joke about the name. As Americans had difficulty pronouncing dachshund, the term hot dog gradually became popular.
There are also those who say that the term gained “fame” at a baseball game at the New York Polo Grounds in 1901. It was cold and salespeople were shouting at fans to get the “red hot” sausages while they were still hot. New York Journal cartoonist Tad Dorgan saw the scene and made a cartoon with the sausage in the bagel. As I didn’t know how to spell dachshund, simply wrote hot dog.
No matter what the “real” origin is, the fact is that the hot dog has become practically an American symbol and more specifically New Yorker. Now, let’s talk about the best places to find an incredible hot dog in NY?
One of the most iconic places in the city is Nathan’s Famous. In 1916, Nathan Handwerker started selling hot dogs for nothing more than $ 0.05! Of course, it didn’t take long to be successful, which is why it was named Nathan’s Famous. The fever increased during the American Great Depression (1929), after all, prices were very attractive, right? To this day the place is still open, has several branches and it is there that the famous competition of who can eat more hot dogs on the 4th of July happens!
Address: 1310 Surf Avenue – Coney Island
OBS: There are many other branches in the city, worth looking for on the website.
No frills and full of spices! For those who like a sausage well seasoned with garlic and paprika, this is the place! In addition, it comes very crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
Address: 205 E Houston St – Manhattan
Do you like innovation and many toppings? Crif Dog is for you! The place is very cool, it’s in the East Village and has unexpected hot dogs on the menu. One of the most requested over there is the Tsunami that has the sausage wrapped in bacon – yes, this is real! It also has options with beef sausage, for those who do not eat pork, and a veggie option.
The place is very cool and has a bar hidden in the back where you can only enter after making a “call” in the phone booth in the back. Paulo and I went there in 2016 and we loved it!
Address: 113 8th Street – Manhattan
The NoMad Bar
Sophistication is the word that defines The NoMad Bar’s hot dog, after all, the sausage is not only wrapped in bacon, but also wrapped in gruyère cheese, celery and truffled aioli. The place also has a more elegant decor than most of the houses mentioned 😉 It is worth a try.
Address: 10 W 28th St – Manhattan
Canadian in origin, nothing traditional and with beef sausage, the Mile End is simply one of the most “different” options in the city. The most requested is the Hoyt Dog, in which the meat is smoking for hours … Can you imagine? They have two units in NY, one in Manhattan and one in Brooklyn 😉
Address: 53 Bond Street – Manhattan / 97A Hoyt Street – Brooklyn
Great price and one of the most traditional places in New York! You won’t want to miss a cheap and delicious hot dog, right? The place is so classic that it has appeared in several series, like How I Met Your Mother and Sex in the City. Additional toppings cost 10 cents!
Address: 2090 Broadway – Manhattan
I know that there are also some chains with a great hot dog, as is the case with Shake Shack, but I wanted to give more options to New Yorkers 😉 Do you know any other amazing places there?