Japadog # 2 – Okonomi

Jpdg  Japadog – Okonomi (on the left)

If you are a gendai (non-Japanese) like me, ordering at Japadog, the new Japanese hot dog sensation on Robson street in Vancouver, is always fun (and terrifying too!): you’re never sure what you are going to get!

The menu is written in Japanese (Terimaki, Okonomi…) except for a brief description which always includes Japanese words, usually for condiments, flavors or vegetables that are typically Japanese and can not be translated into English.

On my second visit to Japadog I ordered Japadog #2 Okonomi. The description was: pork sausage, mayo and bonito flakes.  What exactly are bonito flakes? Is this going to taste good on a hotdog?  I was going to find out soon…

The waitress put a pork sausage in a bun, sprayed a zigzag of Japanese mayo, and added flakes that looked like very thinly sliced dried bacon.  However, I knew right away this was not bacon, but most likely fish.

As I bit the hotdog, my assumptions were confirmed. It definitely smelled and tasted like fish. I resisted the urge to remove the flakes. After all, I paid $7 for a Japanese hotdog, not a regular hot dog! 

When I took a second bite, it was hard to ignore the smell: the bonito flakes were right on top, right under my nose.  Euw.  I forced myself to a third and fourth bite.

As the steam from the hotdog escaped, the fish flakes started to wiggle and contort because of the heat. They moved like real fish!  That did it for me. I removed all the flakes and enjoyed the rest of the hotdog “au naturel”. What an experience!

The weird thing is… I can’t wait to go back again and try Japadog #3 as part of my challenge to try all Japanese hot dogs on their menu. So, stay tuna!

Update:  I googled Okonomi and found out it means “what you like”. As for bonito, it’s a word used to describe various fish similar to from the tuna. Fish hotdog anyone?

Also read my first Japadog review.



In 2005, Noriki Tamura, a businessman from Tokyo, moved to Vancouver where he opened a hotdog stand unlike any others. His creation, Japadog, combines a typical western fastfood – the hot dog – with flavors from Japan (daikon, seaweeds, etc.). At Japadog, even fries have a Japanese twist (soya is one of the three flavors of fries).

I decided to try Japadog since this culinary delight only exist in Vancouver.  For my first visit, I tried the least risky Japadog: Temaki (that’s the one on the right on the photo). Beef sausage. Mayo. Seaweeds.

Mmmm. Very Good. You can’t actually taste or smell the seaweeds (which are similar to the seaweed used in sushi) so it tastes like a real hotdog, but of better quality.  I liked it a lot (5/5).

In fact, I liked it so much that I’ve decided to challenge myself to try ALL the Japadogs on the menu, one by one, and report on each one of these experience on my blog. Since I started by ordering Japadog #1 from the menu (temaki) I decided my next order would be #2: okonomi. Description: pork saussage, Japanese mayo, bonita flakes. To find out what bonita flakes taste like, come back and visit soon.