November 16, 2016

Eat This Now: Japanese-Style Hot Dogs in Alameda

by Sarah

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Japanese-style hot dogs are not new. In fact, they’ve been around for at least a decade, long enough that they fall under the “Asian fusion” umbrella (a food phrase that fortunately is falling out of favor these days. It seriously gives me the heebie-jeebies). The marriage of Japanese toppings – like Kewpie mayo, takuan (pickled daikon radish), and nori strips – with all-American hot dogs claims its roots in Vancouver, Canada. Apparently Japadog, a food cart started by a Japanese couple in 2005, is the J-style dog’s originator. And since then, you can find Japanese-stye hot dogs all around the country, including in Seattle, MinneapolisNew York, L.A., San Jose and Sacramento, Berkeley, et al. I have to admit, I never had a Japanese-style hot dog until about a week ago, when I decided to try my first – despite its horrible name – at Doggy-Style Hot Dogs in Alameda.

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Doggy-Style is located in a small building along Alameda’s main commerce strip, at 1234 Park Street. It was opened in September 2011 by an uncle and his nephew, Milton and Mike Pang.

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Doggy-Style serves all types of hot dog creations, from American standards like the Chicago dog and chili dog to Mexican-inspired dogs topped with crumbled tortilla chips, cilantro mayo, and salsa. Sometimes, they’ll even have special off-menu dogs (sadly, none on the day I visited). But Doggy-Style is best known for its Asian-style dogs, and most notably its signature Japanese-style hot dog, the Doggyzilla. Whatever you choose, their dogs are a great deal: Classics (without all the crazy toppings) are $4 each, while their loaded combo dogs are $5.95 each.

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The Doggyzilla, Doggy-Style’s most popular offering, is a bratwurst sausage in a bun that comes loaded with “Asian slaw,” wasabi mayo, teriyaki sauce, and shredded nori. The Pangs, apparently like to call it the “sushi of hot dogs.” Overall, I liked it. I enjoyed how all the toppings tasted together and the bun was more like a quality soft roll than your run-of-the-mill cheap white bread hot dog bun. But I was a little put off by the bratwurst, which is both mild in spice, but fragrant with herbs in a way that I wasn’t totally fond of. The sausage also lacked the snap I really want when I bite into one. Personally, I think I would’ve liked the Doggyzilla more if it came on a regular beef or pork dog.

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So it’s a good thing I also ordered the Umai, another Japanese-style hot dog. This style comes with a Kosher beef dog topped with Japanese mayo, teriyaki sauce, takuan, and nori. I was worried that the pickled radish would be too sweet, but its zingy flavor really works in conjunction with the savory and salty meat, creamy and rich sauces, and dry seaweed strips. For me, the Umai is the winner!

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For those of you who care where your meat comes from, according to Doggy-Style’s website and a mention in Bruce Kraig and Patty Carroll’s book, Man Bites Dog, Doggy-Style sources its sausages and hot dogs from a local maker that’s been in business for more than 70 years.

The next time you’re in Alameda (after the flea market or a visit to the Pacific Pinball Museum, perhaps?) and you’re looking for a cheap, solid snack, stop into Doggy-Style! Not only do they have something for everyone (as long as you like hot dogs), you’ll be supporting a family-owned local business. As my Umami Mart co-worker Chris Cabrera said about Doggy-Style, “It’s a hot dog spot like no other. I love this place!”

DOGGY-STYLE HOT DOGS
1234 Park Street
Alameda, CA 94501
T: (510) 521-5555

2 Trackbacks

  • By New Bay Area Japanese Restaurants – February 2017 on February 7, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    […] Japanese hotdog fix. Takuya is in the former Quickly/Irving Cafe location, and will serve both Japanese-style hot dogs and sausage bowls (made with a base of brown rice or salad) featuring toppings like “bonito […]

  • By Bay Eats Japan: March 2017 - Umami Mart on March 7, 2017 at 8:01 am

    […] 716 Irving Inner Sunset residents can get their Japanese hotdog fix. Takuya serves both Japanese-style hot dogs and sausage bowls (made with a base of brown rice or salad) featuring toppings like “bonito […]

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