Last week, there was a Japadog-eating contest at the airport. I had fully planned to go (as a viewer, not participant), but I got held up with the morning’s post and couldn’t make it in time. Luckily, The Vancouver Sun was there and posted this video about the competition. Of the six competitors chosen at random from the hundreds that applied, the man crowned Japadog King was Steve Thomson of Vancouver, who downed 7 hotdogs in 10 minutes. Gross, and way to go!
Ever since then, I’ve been meaning to get to the Japadog stand at the airport because I’ve never tried one of these infamous dogs with an international cult following. I mean, Anthony Bourdain’s tried them, and NOT ME? This simply would not do.
So, if you live outside of the metro-Vancouver area or haven’t run across one of their new stands in New York, you may be asking yourself what the heck is Japadog? I’ll tell you.
Japadog began as a one modest hot dog street stand, and has grown into a small empire with multiple stands (one soon opening in Richmond!), a store in downtown Vancouver, and a newly-opened store in New York. What’s their secret? Instead of the usual ketchup, mustard, and relish, their hot dog toppings are Japanese; think teriyaki, nori, Japanese mayo, daikon, bonito flakes, and even soba noodles. These all rest atop beef, pork, turkey, or veggie dogs, stuffed into a classic white bun. Brilliant? Many think so. Just an over-priced hot dog with some seaweed on top? Others think so, too. Still a must-try? Absolutely.
Since it was already on my list, I was overjoyed to stumble upon a Japadog cart yesterday, in the most unlikely of places – The Sharing Farm! My friends Megan and Garrett joined me in Terra Nova Park for the farm’s 4th Annual Garlic Fest, and Japadog was one of the vendors. I got garlic AND a hotdog I’d been meaning to try; two birds, one store/two dogs, one bone.
I’ll start with the dog, then get to the garlic. It was tough to decide which flavour to choose – should I go with the ever-popular signature Terimayo, with its teriyaki sauce, mayo, and seaweed? Or perhaps the Oroshi, with its freshly grated daikon?
Just as I was starting to get stressed over the choices, I spotted “three types of cheese” in the Spicy Cheese Terimayo, and it was decided. I would have my hotdog filled with cheese and topped with terimayo and seaweed (essentially it’s just the Terimayo Dog but with cheese, and therefore better). I placed my order, paid my $6.75, (yes, you read that correctly) and waited in line to receive my dog.
Was it tasty? YES. As healthy as I try to eat, as much as I try to avoid the over-processed, as mysterious as hot-dog meat is, I must say I DO LOVE A HOT DOG with plenty of toppings. And that’s exactly what Japadog gives you; it was cheesy as promised, mayo-y, the strips of nori provided a very subtle sea-like flavour, and the sauerkraut I added on top gave a pickle-y crunch.
I imagine these would be especially good should you have happened to consume one too many beverages of a fermented nature the night before. But is it worth the whopping price tag? Probably not. Still, it’s always fun to try a cult classic, and part of the price tag pays for your spot within the cultural phenomenon that is Japadog.
We countered the hotdog with healthy, organic smoothies from the Juice Caboose, who were also setup at The Sharing Farm along with Rim Food Baht, a Thai food truck usually parked near the CBC in Vancouver. It was great to see some food trucks in Richmond!
I cut the hotdog grease with a 9oz Bandit smoothie ($4) which had strawberry, hemp seeds, vanilla bean, coconut butter, raw cacao nibs, and agave. It was fresh, had crunch from the hemp seeds and nibs and was so HEALTHY!
Garrett went for the 16oz Midnight Express ($6), a blend of hemp seeds, vanilla bean, raw cacao powder, peppermint, and agave. It was chocolatey and icy cool from the peppermint – sipping it reminded me of what it feels like to breathe in -30 degree celsius weather. It’s a shock to the system, but exhilarating!
Each year The Sharing Farm grows hundreds (if not thousands) of garlic bulbs which they harvest mid-summer, hang in an airport hangar to dry (one of the coolest visuals, ever), and sell as part of their one day, family-friendly event within Terra Nova Park.
There was live music, chef demonstrations, farm tours, homemade focaccia baked up in the cob oven, garlic ice cream, endless activities for kids, a chance to wander the gardens, and of course, food. The turnout was very impressive and the cloudy sky kept everyone cool and comfortable. Congratulations to all of the organizers and volunteers for putting together such a phenomenal day! Here are some photos from the fest:
What will I be doing with the garlic, garlic scape vinegar, and vegan garlic scape pesto I brought home? I’ll be using the vinegar in my next salad dressing and toss the garlic scape pesto with pasta for a quick and easy dinner, but the first thing I’ll make is my friend Emily’s Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Popcorn. She made this for us when we lived in Parma (a time when, understandably, we put parmesan on just about everything), and it became the only way we’d eat popcorn after that. It is utterly addictive, and perfect for garlic season in Richmond!
Emily’s Roasted Garlic and Parmesan Popcorn
Large bowl of freshly-popped popcorn
1/4 (or more!) cup of butter
1 large bulb of roasted garlic (see directions for roasting here)
1/8 – 1/4 cup (or more!) of freshly-grated parmesan cheese
Salt, to taste
Melt butter in pan. Once your freshly-roasted head of garlic has cooled down enough, squeeze out the cloves into the butter, and mash the butter and garlic together. If it becomes to thick and paste-like, just melt in more butter until it’s thin enough! Drizzle the roasted garlic butter over the popcorn, stirring and tossing the popcorn to ensure it’s evenly coated. Toss in the grated parmesan and salt to taste. Share with friends, if you must.
Vancouver International Airport, Richmond BC
Mon. – Sat: 10:30am – 6pm
Vegetarian options available
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