Every city seems to have their own take on the hot dog. It’s a like a local barometer, identifying all the cultural idiosyncrasies that makes that town unique. Vancouver has Japadog. Honolulu has Puka Dog.
Hot dogs may be basic, but Puka Dog’s operation is anything but. They’ve invested in custom (medieval looking) machines to heat their uniquely shaped buns (like a roll with a hole in it, hence the name Puka — Hawaiian for hole) from the inside out, to draft like dispensers for their unique relishes.
(Above: Puka dog — it’s like a pig in a blanket. Except, instead of a blanket, this pig is rocking one of those puffy winter jackets.)
They’ve even made the ordering easy and systematic. What kind of sausage? Polish or veggie (polish, please. Which garlic lemon secret sauce? Mild to Hot-Hot (surely you jest, Hot-Hot, of course). Finally, what kind of relish? You can go traditional, or try out any number of tropical flavours. For Case, the papaya. For myself, the mango.
(Above: Puka Dog dude filling the orders.)
The hot dogs were good, not mind-blowingly good, but good and ridiculously fun to eat. The sauces were mostly subtle — sweet, with only hints of the tropical fruit flavours. Our bun was toasted a little too crunchy in the middle, while the Hot-Hot sauce was tasty, but not-not hot.
Our pair of dogs and bottled water put us over $15, which is kind of pricey. But the novelty of the experience was quite enjoyable.
Perfect for: a tropical take on the humble hot dog.