Hot Dog of the Week: El Bohemio in Guayaquil, Ecuador
We first featured Ecuadorian hot dogs here about a year ago. Today's dog from El Bohemio, a fast food stand with several locations in the city of Guayaquil, also comes recommended by Ecuadorian hot dog correspondent Remigio Torres.
There are some similarities between Mexican and Colombian style hot dogs including the gratuitous use of ketchup and mayonnaise. Ecuadorian dogs, however, are wildly unique in terms of cooking style and indigenous sauces and toppings.
Ecuadorian hotdogueros distinguish themselves by steaming their dogs in a baño maria water bath that's different at every stand. Usually some combination of water, onions, and ketchup or tomatoes, but sometimes also garlic, herbs, or hot peppers. El Bohemio uses a fairly simple combination of water and red onions.
What they're really known for is the massive quarter-pound Super Hot Dog Mandingo which goes for $2.50, pretty steep for a city where most cart dogs are under a dollar. According to Remigio, this massive sausage is the closest in taste to a garlicky American style frank, while the cheaper dogs tend to be mild or even bland.
Next you choose from a zillion different sauces and condiments. From left to right is Aji (Ecuadorian hot sauce made with tamarillos), cheese sauce, cole slaw, red pepper chimichurri, and creamy salsa verde made with soft cheese and herbs. Then there's also ketchup, mustard, and mayo, or usually all of the above.
All of these toppings are loaded onto the Mandingo dog in a soft roll held together by the yellow wax paper sleeve that seems to be Ecuador's tube steak vehicle of choice. Normally a bunch of the onions from the baño maria end up on there, along with a coating of crushed potato chips, which is common in other parts of South America but apparently pretty rare for Guayaquil.
Many thanks to Remigio for sharing his hot dog knowledge. A year later and I'm still searching for one of these things in the United States. Looks like Union City, New Jersey, and Queens both have plenty of Ecuadorian spots. It would be hard to believe there isn't one serving a hot dog.
Hannibal Vela Arboleda Street (b/n Ignacio Cuesta Garcia St. and Adolfo Alvear Ordoñez Street; map)
About the author: 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/.