There are logical reasons on both sides of the fusion equation for why a Banh Mi Hot Dog should taste good. On the Vietnamese side, the fact that a pork hot dog reflects the array of pork products, from pâté to meatballs to slow-cooked pork, traditionally used in a banh mi. On the American side, the fact that a Chicago dog, for one, sports an almost salad-like array of vegetable toppings, some of them pickled tangy sweet, just like a banh mi’s vegetable filling.
I bought hot dogs from the farmers’ market a couple weekends ago, thinking they’d be a great easy dinner to make some hot night. But I kept forgetting to grab any hot dog buns. When I finally had the presence of mind to stop at Eli’s outpost in Grand Central on my way home, I was smack in the middle of a banh mi-obsessed week: I’d eaten at Num Pang twice for lunch! I bought enormous brioche hot dog buns–admittedly a far cry from the crackly rice flour baguette of a real banh mi–and when I got home I tweaked the veggies in my fridge to give them an Asian flair, for condiments.
Banh Mi are messy, a feature I borrowed for these hot dogs in addition to the plentiful vegetable topping, spicy-creamy mayo, and rich porkiness. Thank goodness it was dark by the time we’d taken a few bites of our dinner and the condiments had sort of exploded all over our plates–you wouldn’t have wanted to see the “after” photograph of these.
Banh Mi Hot Dogs
Makes 2-4 dogs, serving 2 (easily doubled, tripled, etc. for parties)
If you’re having a BBQ, you can obviously grill the dogs instead. Also, this’ll work fine with beef dogs as well. A yummy mayo-less slaw is the perfect accompaniment. (By the way, lest any authenticity sticklers freak out, I know that the sandwiches at Num Pang that I call banh mi are actually called num pang and are Cambodian, not Vietnamese.)
2 medium carrots, julienned and cut into 3-inch lengths
1 scallion, white and green parts thinly sliced
1 dried red chile pepper
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2-2 teaspoons sriracha, depending on how spicy you like
1/4 cup mayo
1 cucumber, trimmed and cut vertically into thin slices
large handful cilantro
4 hot dogs, preferably pork
2 large or 4 regular-sized hot dog buns
Bring a pot of water to boil for the hot dogs.
To make the picked carrots: Place the vinegar, sugar and salt in a small pot and heat to boiling. Stir so the sugar dissolves. Add the carrots, scallion, and chile pepper, then remove from heat. Pour into a glass bowl or jar, and let come to room temperature. If you’re making the pickled carrots ahead of time, place the jar in the fridge and keep for up to 2 weeks.
Make the sriracha mayo by combining 1/2 teaspoon sriracha with the mayo in a small bowl. Add more sriracha by the 1/2 teaspoon til it’s at the spiciness you desire. If you’re making for a crowd, opt for the lower amount: people can always squirt more sriracha onto their individual dogs.
If you like, toast the hot dog buns. Spread both sides liberally with sriracha mago. Line each bun with the cucumber slices.
Boil the dogs for about 2 minutes, just til they’re hot through. Drain. Place the dogs on the buns. Top with a generous serving of the pickled carrots (leave the pickling juice behind) and a bunch of cilantro leaves.