Despite having history in Germany, the hot dog really seems, now, to be a quintessential American food — available everywhere from the food carts of New York City to the corner markets of America’s heartland.
How do you like yours? With mustard? Plain? Chili? Onions? A lot of your preference has to do with where you come from. Throughout the United States, the hot dog has turned into a blank culinary canvas on which you can add amazing regional flair to suit your preferences and tastes. So we asked Uproxx writers from all over the country to try a regional hot dog and report on why their dog is so unique.
Tennessee Slaw Dog
Jennifer C. Martin: Being from southeastern Tennessee (and now living in Richmond, Virginia), I volunteered to represent the southern region of hot dogs, which really only means one thing: the slaw dog. Coleslaw is a quintessential southern food lurking at every southern barbecue. It’s not an official cookout without someone bringing a big bowl of the cabbage-y stuff to a summer party. Coleslaw can be either vinegar-based or mayonnaise-based: it’s entirely up to preference. My Appalachian grandmother preferred oodles of mayonnaise in her coleslaw, along with the flavors of horseradish and mustard, so that’s what I’m more accustomed to.
Even though I’ve never lived outside the south, I’d never put coleslaw on a hot dog before. For me it seemed… weird. I preferred hot dogs with mustard only, or just chili and cheese — which motivated me to discover what I was missing out on.
I headed to a local Richmond restaurant called City Dogs and picked up the “Tennessee Slaw Dog” piled high with mustard, onions, beanless chili, and coleslaw.