I’ve been on a secret dog hunting mission for several months now. When I visited Vancouver in January, I spent several days looking for the now infamous Japa Dog which Anthony Bourdain visited last year. The uniqueness of this hot dog stand is that it serves the dogs in a Japanese fusion style.
Unfortunately, I never found Japa Dog in January. I later read on Yelp that they don’t always open their stand each day. Depending on weather (or personal schedules), it can be hit or miss. While walking around the city, we’ve kept our eye out but have never seen the stand open. We tried again the other day, but alas no Japa Dog on the street corner.
Joe called me yesterday while he was running errands to say he spotted the hot dog stand open. Unfortunately, I had just finished leftover eggplant kuku so had to pass, but was pleased to learn they had been spotted in the wild.
Today, we decided to venture out in the rain (well, it’s always raining) and head over to the corner of Burrard and Smithe where Japa Dog sets up. After our 10 minute walk, we were fairly wet (no umbrella, that’s just how I roll), but our spirits were not dampened when we saw the stand ahead of us. Finally!
We lined up behind three people already in line and waited. And, waited. It took us a couple of minutes to realize that they were still setting up and no one had placed any orders yet. A girl and guy behind the stand were putting out condiments while we waited. And, waited some more.
After 10 minutes, they started taking orders. The line had grown to 10 or 15 people at this point, all eagerly waiting (to be honest, my eagerness was waning a bit as the rain finally penetrated my coat and was now seeping into my shirt). My first realization about Vancouver is that I really need to invest in a rain coat.
I ordered the Misomayo (turkey dog, radish sprouts, miso-mayo) while Joe had the Terimayo (beef dog with seaweed and teriyaki flavored mayo?). The dog looked good and I grabbed a squeeze bottle of light green color that contained wasabi flavored mayo and gave my dog a few shots.
Note: Misomayo is on left, Terimayo on right
We ran up to a nearby storefront to get out of the rain and to take photos (of course). I’m not sure what I was expecting … I’ll admit it’s good. I loved the wasabi mayo and toasted bun, but something about it just didn’t live up to the hype. Granted, this could all be due to the rain and my lack of patience with waiting for so long (as well as hunting for the dogs for so long). We both enjoyed them but agreed it wasn’t worth the effort — we will gladly wait until a sunny day occurs to have them again.
On both sides of the hot dog stand they have big signs showing all the ‘famous’ people who’ve eaten their dogs. Anthony Bourdain is probably the most recognizable one. Well, then there is Ice Cube. I don’t know why but the photo, caption, and idea of Ice Cube chowing down on 10 turkey hot dogs just makes me laugh every time I see it:
The Anthony Bourdain show likely helped give the hot dog stand a big boost since it seems many tourists know to look for Japa Dog. A second location at Pender and Burrard opened in February … but we haven’t been able to confirm this. We’ve looked but never found them there. It’s too bad because it’s even closer to where we live.
I am happy that I can now mark Japa Dog off my list of things to do in Vancouver. Now, I need to figure out what I should hunt for next … me thinks it will be banh mi. I’ve had one since coming here but it wasn’t very good.