Wicked Good Franks is just the latest joint to offer a geographic spin on the good ol’ American hot dog, but the Myrtle Avenue restaurant’s New England-style hot dog is just one hue in a rainbow coalition of wieners that link Coney Island, Krakow, Shanghai, Mexico and all points in between.
So break out the mustard and sauerkraut — and relish our international smorgasbord of sausages:
Brooklyn Flea, Fort Greene
Talk about a Red Scare! One might think twice of eating hot dogs called the Wang Ding (which are slathered in plum sauce and topped with a pork belly) and the Sidney (mango, cucumber, fish sauce and crushed peanuts), but they’re frightfully delicious — and Asiadog employees say there’s absolutely nothing un-American about them.
“There will always be an handful of old-school New Yorkers that are insulted that we’ve touched their signature food,” employee Ginny Hwang said. “But then they try it — and love it.”
Puebla Mini Market
It’s a hot dog! It’s a Mexican sandwich! It’s … both?
Meet the Espanola Doble: a monster hot dog that makes Nathan’s look it’s serving cocktail wieners.
Forget ketchup and mustard; this gut-busting feast — or “torta” as its called in its native tongue — has avocado, onions, tomatoes, jalapenos, refried beans, cheese, ham, bacon and eggs.
It’s also a bit bipolar: the pickled jalapenos add some spice while the avocado cools the tongue. But the frank and bacon combo in its center ultimately beats out all of the other flavors, making it a salty, delicious, hot dog colossus.
Sikorski’s Meat Market
The kielbasa — a scrumptious smoked pork sausage, cooked and stored in its own fat, that can be eaten by itself, in a sandwich, stew or on a bun — is one of Poland’s most significant contributions to society and humankind, and Sikorksi Meat Market on Manhattan Avenue is a veritable kielbasa kingdom.
Most kielbasi are pre-smoked, and can be eaten as soon as the butcher cuts it. There’s weselna, a thick, heavily salted veal and pork sausage hot-smoked in garlic and oregano; and krakowska, a pork sausage smoked in garlic, pepper, coriander and all-spice, giving it an extra kick, Sikorski’s has whatever type of Polish sausage you desire.
It may not be a traditional hot dog, but Sikorski kielbasi — smoky, salty and perfectly punctuated with flecks of fat — are so good we couldn’t leave them off this list.
If the hot dog has a big bad brother, it has to be the bratwurst — a thick spicy beef and pork sausage that’s a menu requirement in any pub or beer hall throughout both Germany and Wisconsin.
Radegast Hall on N. Third Street leads the pack of bratwurst providers thanks to the careful ministrations of executive chef Joanna Kohut, who serves up Hofbrauhaus-style brats and weisswurst, a minced veal and pork sausage from Bavaria.
Working off a recipe that his wife Ida gave him, Polish immigrant Nathan Handwerker opened up a small hot dog stand near the Boardwalk in 1916 — and unexpectedly created an authentic American food. Nathan’s hot dogs are so empirically American that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt served them to the King and Queen of England in 1939. It’s also the frank of choice at the renowned Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest. “Nathan’s is not an icon or a talisman of America,” explains International Federation of Competitive Eating spokesman George Shea. “It is America — distilled into an entree.”
Asiadog can be found at the Brooklyn Flea Market (176 Lafayette Ave. between Clermont and Vanderbilt avenues in Fort Greene) and various other spots throughout Brooklyn. For info, visit www.asiadognyc.com; Puebla Mini-Market [3908 Fifth Ave. between 39th and 40th streets in Sunset Park; (718) 435-3326]; Sikorski Meat Market [603 Manhattan Ave. between Driggs and Nassau avenues in Greenpoint, (718) 389-6181]. For info, visit www.sikorskimeat.com; Radegast Hall [113 N. Third St. at Berry Street; (718) 963-3973]. For more information, visit www.radegasthall.com; Nathan’s Famous [1310 Surf Avenue between Stillwell Avenue and W. 15th Street in Coney Island, (718) 946-2705].
— with Alfred Ng, Juliet Linderman and Eli Rosenberg
Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at [email protected] or by calling (718) 260-2525.