SAY farewell to the gourmet burger which reigned supreme in 2011 as the humble snag works its way up the ranks to gourmet royalty in 2012.
Spacing three square metres in total, Dognation is possbily the smallest food spot in Melbourne and is the city’s newest must-try gourmet hot dog joint.
Its owner, Seong-Lee Ang, says gourmet hot dogs are the next big thing after the gourmet burger captured the hearts and imaginations of Melbourne foodies.
“The gourmet burger trend has lasted for at least the last six months,” he says.
So what goes into the making of the perfect gourmet hot dog?
A massive snag lover, Seong-Lee says a good hot dog is about the bread-to-sausage ratio, texture, flavour and interesting ingredients.
“If you have the best sausage and topping, but the bread is too hard to eat, that would be terrible. A dry, hard sausage can also ruin a whole hot dog,” he says.
“You have to have good bread-to-sausage ratio just so you never eat only one of them.
“And then it comes to the sausage itself. The sausage cannot be too fatty. The ideal sausage is made of lean meat.”
The months leading up to Dognation’s opening were spent doing taste test after taste test, says Seong Lee. And toppings and fillings at Dognation range from nori seaweed and chilli con carne to beetroot relish.
According to Seong-Lee, the most popular breads for sausages are those which are crusty on the outside but fluffy on the inside.
“You have to have a balance of flavour and texture… They have to compliment each other,” he says.
“Everything on your hot dog should go together for that perfect, harmonious mouthful.”
So where would you go if you’re hankering for a taste of gourmet hot dog royalty?
If you’re in search of quick takeaway lunch in the CBD, head for Dognation on The Causeway. A two-minute walk from Bourke St, the brand new shop’s stand out menu items are its Japanese and Mexican hotdogs. Choices of bread include white or multigrain. Open seven days during lunchtime until 3pm. The kitchen is tiny with two or three staff, so keep your eyes open for the hole-in-the-wall.
Shop 2, The Causeway, Melbourne
On the busy corner of Latrobe and Swanston St, Snag Stand offers a quick and tasty treat for city dwellers. Expect a queue during lunchtime. For under $10, you can get some seriously exotic snag flavours and toppings. The crowd favourite is the wagyu beef sausage, which is almost always sold out, so you have to be quick. There are also gluten free and low-fat sausage with no artificial colours or flavourings. The chips are amazing too. Take away or perch yourself on one of the Snag Stand’s bright yellow bar stools and wolf down your snag in a hurry. Opens seven days until late.
Cnr Latrobe and Swanston St, Melbourne
Melbourne Bratwurst shop
If you’re hungry after some bargain-hunting at Queen Victoria Market, get yourself a German hotdog. The Bratwurst Shop lets you choose between mild, spicy and weisswurst sausages. You can smell grilled sausages from the door. Talk about temptation! The bread is average, but the sauages are good and so is the swiss cheese.
Deli Hall 99 Queen Victoria Market
Massive Wieners have been treating Prahran locals to the 30 cm ‘Massive Wiener’ , the 15cm ‘Average Joe’ and the 7cm ‘Little Pecker’ for years. Their normal wieners are all less than $6 and are delicious. Drinks include ginger beer and Mexican cola. The shop’s owners, Dave Brennan and Liam Magee, are working on a 50cm ‘Super Colossal Wiener’ at the moment, so stay tuned.
113 Greville St, Prahran
If you are up Brunswick St on your way to Fitzroy, you may as well grab a snag from Phat Brats. For $9, you can choose from beef, chicken or pork dogs. Beer soaked bratwurst is their absolute speciality and a must try. Unlike most hotdog stands, Phat Brat is more of a restaurant, so you can eat in. Their dogs are freshly made by suppliers down the road and they’re open seven days from midday until late.
320 Brunswick St, Fitzroy