Hot Dogs in Paris: More Delicious Than the American Original?

// Visited: 12.09 //

Recently, I came across a New York Times article that made me do a double take.  When I read beyond the headline, my stomach started growling and my heart beat a little faster.  I resisted the urge to immediately board a plane for Charles de Gaulle Airport.  After all, how often do you come across a discussion about Parisian hot dogs?

After my falafel experience in Le Marais during my last trip to Paris, I don’t question the availability of excellent street food in Paris.  But hot dogs?  What about the infamous supposed animosity of the French for all things American (especially American food)?  Fortunately, it appears that such food xenophobia is not universal.

The Times article focused on a three-Michelin-starred Parisian restauranteur, Yannick Alléno, and his love of New York dirty water hot dogs as well as his own veau chaud (literally, “hot veal”)—a sausage that Alléno makes from cooked calf head.  Granted, this is quite a bit fancier than American hot dogs made out of god-knows-what-mystery-meat-parts.

Just like Americans, Alléno serves his hot veal with sauce squirted out of a squeeze bottle—but instead of ketchup or mustard, that squeeze bottle contains gribiche sauce, a vinaigrette of capers, little pickles called cornichons, hard-boiled egg, herbs and mustard.  Sounds like a delicious mash-up to me.

Reading the story reminded me of a hot dog that I devoured the last time I was in Paris.  It was late, and I was looking for a quick dinner while browsing the holiday stalls lining the Champs-Elysees.  Amid the vendors hawking vin chaud (hot, sweet red wine), wool berets (me being me, I got one), and roasted chestnuts (too mealy), I spotted a man sautéing massive vats of sausages and onions.

“Sandwich Americain,” he advertised, which I found slightly troubling.  Also disconcerting were the industrial-sized metal boxes attached to pumps for ketchup, mustard, and mayo.  Was this just a ploy to get American tourists to eat sub-par New York water dogs?  But I put my faith squarely inside the vats of fragrant, sizzling sausage—besides, it was getting late and the other shops had closed up for the night—and I was rewarded for setting aside my suspicions.

I was surprised by the juicy snappiness of the sausage as well as crusty fluffiness of the roll.  Better than an anemic, cottony supermarket hot dog bun, any day.

Not that there’s anything wrong with a New York water dog.  If it’s good enough for a three-Michelin-starred chef, I guess it can be good enough for me.  (Well, except for that whole pink slime thing.)

If you encounter this man, you can trust him to cook you a tasty sandwich americain.


Paris' answer to the American hot dog

Le sandwich americain

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