"The signature of the Danish Hot Dog is the mountain of crispy fried onions—pretty much exactly like the canned French fried onions."
This week marks the first Hot Dog of the Week outside of North America. Unique hot dog styles are evolving on every corner of the planet. Brazil alone has three or four unique styles. Japan probably invented four new hot dogs while I wrote this article.
European hot dog variations are extra fascinating because the dogs themselves are closer to the original German wieners, yet many of the serving styles and toppings are influenced by American hot dog variations.
I was thrilled when my fellow illustrator-food blogger Kris Chau came back from Copenhagen with a camera full of hot dog pictures. I've heard about Denmark's hot dogs from many who consider them to be some of the best in the world. Hot dogs, known as Polser in Denmark, are in fact the country's most popular street food, available all over from polsevogns (literally "sausage wagon") that offer hot dogs and sausages in a myriad of styles.
The Danish Hot Dog is a natural casing wiener, often dyed bright red. Cooked on a flat grill, the extra-long dogs extend far beyond the boundaries of the bun, and are topped with crunchy fried onions, raw onions, thinly sliced pickles, and your choice of sauces ranging from mustard to ketchup or remoulade.
The signature of the Danish Hot Dog is the mountain of crispy fried onions—pretty much exactly like the canned "French fried onions" one might use to garnish a tuna casserole.
The dogs themselves are made from pork, and a touch more flavorful than their American cousins. They're still definitely in the wiener-frankfurter category (rather than sausage) though the vendors also offer Danish specialties such as the spicier Medister Polse.
Also common is the Fransk Hotdog or "French Hotdog" which is a toasted baguette-like roll with a hole bored through the middle, similar to the Hawaiian Puka Dog (filled with creamy sauce and stuffed with a hot dog). They even have bacon-wrapped hot dogs known as Polse I Svob served with the bread and sauces on the side.
Danish-style dogs seem to be taking off in popularity all over the world. Especially popular in Sweden, served right alongside Sweden's own wild variations - hot dogs topped with everything from creamy shrimp salad to mashed potatoes.
In the United States, you can find Danish Polser at Skagenhus in Wisconsin, a Scandinavian gift shop and tea room, or at F&B Gudtfood in Manhattan, a European-style sandwich shop that even makes a vegetarian Danish Dog.
Every street corner, Denmark
Hawk Krall is a Philadelphia-based illustrator who has a serious thing for hot dogs. Dig his dog drawings? Many of the illustrations he has created for Hot Dog of the Week are available for sale: hawkkrall.net/prints/.