Many hot dog purists may argue that the United States is the best hot dog country in the world. Whether they’re fans of Coney Island hot dogs from Nathan’s or if they are devout worshipers of the Windy City Chicago dogs, either way, the U.S. hot dog lovers stand united.
However, the very origin of the hot dog can be traced back to Germany with the invention of the Frankfurter in the late 1600s by Johann Georghehner, a butcher who lived in Coburg. According to the National Hot Dog & Sausage Council, the American version of the hot dog began back in the 1800s. In1871 Charles Feltman, a German butcher, opened up the first Coney Island hot dog stand. He went on to sell 3,684 dachshund sausages in milk rolls during his first year in business, thus giving birth to the hot dog many of us recognize today.
Then came the famous Chicago hot dog, around 1893. The Germans once again brought their love of sausages to the U.S. by introducing the practice of eating the dachshund sausages inside a bun. Today, the Chicago-style hot dog is an all-beef, natural-casing hot dog topped with yellow mustard, chopped white onions, sliced or wedged fresh tomatoes, a dill pickle, and sweet pickle relish dyed bright green, pickled peppers, and a dash of celery salt, served on a poppy seed bun.
Countries around the world from Sweden to Vietnam have taken the idea of the classic hot dog, with German roots and American zest, and have put their own twist on the comfort-food classic. For example, South Africa has a tantalizing twist on the classic dish. The dog itself is a combination of beef and either pork or lamb seasoned with spices like nutmeg, cloves, and coriander seed. The delicious mess is wrapped in a warm, large roll topped with chutney, mustard, and tomato relish. For more distinctive versions of the hot dog, places like Vietnam put pickled vegetables as their topping of choice, and in Hawaii, it’s all about the pineapple relish.
No matter where you roam, hungry travelers can find different versions of the hot dog that may just challenge the conventional idea of what the tasty street food is supposed to be.