Japadog is one of those odd and wacky combinations of a hot dog with Japanese toppings, but it works!
I had the Terimayo, a teriyaki-drenched dog topped with seaweed. Not substantial for the $5 price tag, but a good snack. The location on Robson is dine-in, and there are carts across the city.
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Japadog: An American Favourite Turned Japanese in Canada
Japadog, now with more locations that their original push cart stand, began in 2005 when Noriki Tamura and wife Misa made the move from Japan to Vancouver. Their dream was to create a world famous Japanese inspired food cart. With many obstacles including cold winters and skepticism over the years their dream started to become realized as they gained a large following on the streets, received celebrity customers and many catering requests from universities and film crews. In 2011 a food truck was needed and they also opened their store location on Robson in 2010 in time for the Olympics. And they still have 3 push carts on the go too. If you find yourself on the opposite coast Japadog restaurant is now available in New York as of January 2012.
Through all this hype I only tried my first Japadog in July 2013 despite having passed the Robson location countless of times and being discouraged by the long line up ~ as I discovered the line up actually moves quite fast. The menu is varied and offers an education in sausage meats and alternatives such as Kobe beef, Kurobuta (aka Birkshire) sausage, turkey sausage, Arabiki sausage, deep fried pork cutlets and even veggie among many other variations some stuffed with cheese or edamame.
Since the success of the Olympics Japadog has now become a prized Vancouver gem and word is spreading internationally. It’s a local Vancouver gem where you must stop while visiting and try the American street food favourite turned Japanese in Canada.
If you're like me and do a bit of research prior to your trips, you may have come across Vancouver's über-famous, Japanese-style hot dog, Japadog. It's been on a million blogs as well as on Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.
The original hot dog stand is still located in front of the Sutton Place Hotel in downtown Vancouver. There are several stands in the Vancouver area, as well as a storefront on Robson Street near Seymour Street, and a stand at the Santa Monica pier in California.
Check out the menu on their website for the kinds of hot dogs they serve. I am a creature of habit and get the Kurobuta Terimayo dog, shown above. If you want a breakdown, it's a Kurobuta hot dog (a specially-bred-in-Japan pig that produces a flavorful, high-fat-content pork) with teriyaki sauce, mayo, and seaweed. Sounds funky but it's oh so tasty! Since they opened up several locations, the lines move a lot faster.