In America they call it a frankfurter, in Frankfurt, they call it a hotdog and at a certain barbecue restaurant in Bangalore, they call it a festival. Every Wednesday, The Royal Orchid’s partly al fresco restaurant, Limelight, hosts BBQ Nights.
This upcoming Wednesday, (19 July), their barbecue nights is taking a decidedly more American turn with the evening dedicated to the hotdog; with good reason because 19 July is World Hotdog Day.
What we like about Limelight are their policies of being creative about their main course (and starters). It shows in their decision to focus on hotdogs in their bbq nights and take the trouble to research it well. This is especially notable in a time when so many restaurants and eating places across the city think that a buffet with veg items, starters, reasonably sized servings are what might pass for good food. Add chicken and it’s a festival.
At the Royal Orchid, you can participate. You can select your toppings (the hotel encourages you to be “quirky” with your toppings). And they also have a live corner where an expert will show you how to wield your weiner; how to create your own delicious dawg no matter if you will be happily splattered with mustard and mayo. No matter - the relish will be delish.
What might come as a surprise to most is that there is etiquette to eating a dog - just as there is probably a “wrong” way to eat an idli. Most of what’s frowned upon in the eating of a hotdog is generally trying to be posh about it or adding too much ketchup while being more than 18 years of age. According to one American meat trade association’s official etiquette guide for hot dog-eating (yes, this actually exists), it’s tacky to top your frank with the red sauce if you’re over 18 years old, and pretentious to consume it with utensils. You will also come across as snob-rubbish if you put the dog on a fancy bun, like sun-dried tomato or basil, and serve it on anything fancier than a paper plate or everyday crockery.
So if you don’t want to come off as gauche to the fine folks at the Royal Orchid, eat every part of the hot dog (including leftover bun bits), pair it with simple drinks and sides, and always, always lick off any condiments that you find on your fingers.
Probably because this most humble and most inclusive of all dishes has become an American cultural icon; and the ubiquitous hotdog vendor is a fixture in any Hollywood movie shot in New York City.
According to Wikipedia, a hotdog or frankfurter, frank, or wiener, is a cooked sausage, traditionally grilled or steamed and served in a partially sliced bun. Typical garnishes include mustard, ketchup, onions, mayonnaise, relish, coleslaw, cheese, chili, olives, and sauerkraut. Hot dog variants include the corn dog and pig in a blanket.
This type of sausage was culturally imported from Germany and popularized in the United States, where it became a working-class street food sold at hot dog stands and carts. The hot dog became closely associated with baseball and American culture. Hot dog preparation and condiments vary regionally in the US. Although particularly connected with New York City and New York City cuisine, the hot dog became ubiquitous throughout the US during the 20th century, and emerged as an important part of some regional cuisines (notably Chicago street cuisine).
The most well known homage to the hotdog is on Coney Island (in Brooklyn, New York City) where the most famous of all hotdog makers, Nathan’s, hosts the annual hotdog eating contest.
According to legend, on July 4, 1916, four immigrants held a hot dog eating contest at Nathan's Famous stand on Coney Island to settle an argument about who was the most patriotic. The contest has supposedly been held each year since then except 1941 ("as a protest to the war in Europe") and 1971 (as a protest to political unrest in the U.S.).
The contest has gained public attention in recent years due to the stardom of Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut. The defending champion is Joey Chestnut, who ate 72 hot dogs in the 2017 contest. He beat out Carmen Cincotti and the 2015 champ, Matt Stonie. Here’s a video of Joey Chestnut winning his 10th title just last week.