Price: $5.50 - $6.50
Verdict: Fun to try but won't be back.
Tip: There's no seating so plan to eat elsewhere.
Location: Barrack street, near corner of Hay.
Jap-Dogs. Japanese hotdogs. You have to admit, it sounds intriguing! If you recall our previous experience with Shiro Izakaya's ramen burger, you'll know that we're no strangers to gimmick food here at The Pavarotti. Our general philosophy with food fads is that you have to give them a go, no matter how ridiculous they sound. So when we stumbled past Hikaru's hole-in-the-wall store on Barrack street during one of our weekly trips to get a ramen from Nao, we made a mental note to come back and try it. We also wanted to have an answer for one of our favourite foodies / man-crushes @SanjEats, who posted this on the twitter machine a few months ago:
Anyone tried the okonomiyaki or Jap hotdogs from Hikaru in the city?— Sanjeev (@SanjEats) May 31, 2014
But it wasn't until last week that I got a chance to try one of the Jap-dogs. With my colleagues out of the office, I was having a rare solo lunch and, feeling pretty sorry for myself, thought I would pop out and grab a Jap-dog to keep it interesting.
There are eight Jap-Dog options available at Hikaru and they are all solid Pavarotti's, ranging from $5.50 to $6.50. The options included:
- Kransky Terimayo Dog (cheese kransky, teriyaki mayo, shredded nori)
- Yakiniku Beef Dog (griddled beef, relish)
- Spicky Kransky Corn Dog (cheese kranksy, spicy mayo, corn, relish)
- Torikatsu Chicken Roll (crumbed chicken, tonkatsu sauce)
- Karaage Chicken Roll (karaage chicken, teriyaki mayo)
- Butankara Roll (spicy pork, takuwan, tonkatsu sauce)
- Kransky Korokke Dog (Cheese kransky, potato croquette, tonkatsu sauce, dijonnaise, bonito flakes)
- Kransky Tuna Dog (cheese kransky, mayo tuna, spicy mayo, nori)
Let's be honest here, a few of them sound atrocious (I'm looking at you, Kransky Tuna dog with double mayo). Whilst I am all for fusion flavours, I wasn't particularly keen on any of the Jap-Dogs that featured a cheese kransky sausage. I eventually settled for the Butankara Jap-Dog. Unfortunately, there is nowhere to sit at Hikaru's Barrack St hole-in-the-wall, so I brought the roll back to the office for a spot of al desko dining.
I don't know if it's just that I was eating lunch at my desk for the first time in a year, but it wasn't a great dining experience. The fillings of the roll were actually pretty tasty. The pork, albeit a bit gristly, was tasty and the slathering of spicy mayo, although not much to look at, did its best to combat the dryness of the bun. But to borrow a Calombaris-ism, the hero of the dish was definitely the takuwan. Takuwan is pickled daikon radish and it added some crunch and acidity to the Jap-Dog, which otherwise felt a little bit like...well...Japanese food put inside a white bun. Which it is, I guess.
Where the Jap-Dog really falls down is the bun. It was so depressing. Dense white bread with no crunch - kind of like a bad sausage sizzle bun. Even the abundance of mayo and tonkatsu sauce couldn't make up for its dryness. I know you can't expect a whole lot from a $6 roll but, like with many food fads, I think the Jap-Dog falls into the category of 'fun to try but won't be back for seconds'.