Sunday, July 10, 2011

Domo Dogs

(Update on 12/24/11: Domo Dogs has apparently been closed for a few months now. They *may* do side events...keep checking their Facebook or Twitter pages.)

Domo Dogs is a hot dog food cart in Portland, Oregon. They serve Japanese fusion-style hot dogs, adding Japanese-inspired condiments to a hot dog (instead of the usual mustard, relish, or ketchup).

Grilling up those Domo dogs at Last Thursday on NE Alberta St!

Domo Dogs offers a Domo-Yaki dog ($4.50), a 1/4-lb Polish sausage (sake-steamed) on a toasted hoagie roll, topped with daikon sprouts, a coconut cream peanut sauce, and teriyaki mayonnaise.

But I went for their other signature item, the Major Domo ($4.50). An all-beef hot dog wiener is steamed in sake, then grilled. It is placed in a toasted 8-inch hoagie roll, then topped with teriyaki onions, ponzu mayonnaise, sweet chili sauce, and furikake (seaweed and toasted sesame seeds). FYI, Ponzu is a tart, light citrus-based sauce made from ingredients such as mirin and rice wine vinegar.

I also asked for some wasabi cream on top, because wasabi is awesome.

Major Domo
Ponzu mayo is the white squiggle sauce, the wasabi mayo is the green squiggle sauce
The hot dog was worth the $4.50 in both size and flavor. Perhaps one of the best hot dogs I've ever had, such amazing bursts of flavor.

First, the bun was properly toasted, yet was so soft when I bit into the hot dog. The wiener itself was perfectly grilled. I did not really catch much sake influence on the beef frank itself. The diced teriyaki onions had such a wonderful flavor and ideally caramelized. The sweet, silky onions provided a great contrast to the sodium-laced beef frank and furikake. The toasted sesame seeds in the furikake added texture to the meal. Finally, the sweet chili sauce tickled the taste buds and rounded out the balanced dish.

The two owners working the food cart were extremely friendly. While I managed to catch them at Last Thursday on NE Alberta, that's not where they usually park their cart. They had been located at the corner of SW 9th and Washington for a while, but have since moved to SW 10th and Washington (on the Alder St. side next to Samurai Bento), perhaps to find more foot traffic.

Perhaps it's my upbringing on eating Asian food, but I'm puzzled as to why Domo Dogs aren't more popular with many Oregonians. I'm sure many Domo Dogs are sold, but on their Facebook page, they hadn't been selling very many in late June and had wondered if Domo Dogs were "too weird" for Portland. Personally, I don't think Domo Dogs are too weird. Location is everything, and by moving to a new, more crowded spot, I'm sure Domo Dogs will start selling like hotcakes.

I would like to see more variety offered, if possible. There were only two types of hot dogs to choose from when I went. I'd say around four or five hot dog choices would be ideal. The same bun and wiener can be used for all choices (to save on food costs). The gourmet- and Asian-inspired toppings are the star of the dish anyway...without them, it's just another hot dog.

I'm a huge fan of Domo Dogs, and I urge everyone to check them out for a Japanese-fusion hot dog! 8.25/10

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