What do hot dogs and the Japanese have in common? Well, aside from Takeru Kobayashi, the infamous Japanese hot dog eating champion who eventually lost to a bear, not a whole lot springs to mind — that is, until recently.
Noriki Tamura, a Japanese street meat vendor who recently moved to Vancouver, started adding traditional sushi toppings to his dogs. The popularity of this juicy street snack, dubbed the Japa Dog, took off like a karate kicked PokÃ©mon.
Todd Gronsdahl and Nathan McKinnon — owner and waiter respectively at Sushiro on Broadway Avenue — have crafted a weekly night of rock DJing, discount Japa Dogs and cheap beer as an homage to great music and the spicy comfort food rising from the streets of Vancouver.
The Suhiro website describes the process of how they create their unique version of the Japa Dog.
“(We) take one American tube steak, local Mennonite sausage, or tofu dog and lavish it with spicy mayo, bonito, nori, cheese, teriyaki sauce or daikon.”
Since the introduction of the event, Sushiro has become one of the only venues in Saskatoon to offer psychedelic and classic rock DJing.
In a peculiar move, Sushiro has actually teamed up with the Vinyl Diner for the event, and a number of records from the Diner will be on sale at each event. McKinnon admitted that it was somewhat difficult to inform the patrons of this newly added, unique feature.
“They are on a crate on the bar for sale at Sushiro. Not many people are looking through the crate yet, but I think that’s because they don’t yet realize that they are allowed to,” said McKinnon.
If this isn’t enough to have your mouth watering and your hand twitching over your wallet like Clint Eastwood and a hip-holster, for the rest of this month Sushiro will be giving all the profits from Japa Dog sales to a Haiti relief fund.
“Every dollar raised from the Japa Dogs and the four dollar beers goes to the Red Cross for Haiti relief until the end of January,” said McKinnon. “(The disaster) happened just as we were starting this night up again. I think Todd figured that it would be a good cause.”
The DJs are a revolving set, so if you are a regular at the event you will be able to pick out your favourites and attend on their particular night.
“It’s Kalon Beaudry and Janice Weber (who play in Friend’s Electric and Foggy Notions) this Thursday,” said McKinnon. “Colin Skrapek (Maybe Smith) and SoSo do a more hip hop inspired set and Mitch Grier (Ride Til Dawn) and Ben Hettinga do Rock and Soul.”
The Japa Dog combo with fries is $8. Rumours of tempura sweet potato fries are circulating, but were unfortunately absent from the menu when I ate there in December. On top of being an extremely tasty meal, cans of Great West Light are on sale for $4 during Japa Dog hours, Thursdays from 8 to 10 p.m.
photo: Beth Taylor