Patriotism & Hot Dogs

What is more American than hot dogs? – At least that’s what I used to think.

I remember the first time I proudly served Carlos hot dogs. They were perfectly grilled in a nice soft bun. On the table – ketchup, mustard and relish so he could put whichever combination he liked. After we ate I asked him what he thought of our dinner. His response? “They were okay… but I like the hot dogs in El Salvador better.”

Qué qué?! Hot dogs in El Salvador? … When I was actually able to accept that they do indeed eat hot dogs in El Salvador, (and I later found out that there are variations around the world!), I refused to accept that they could be better than AMERICAN hot dogs – because hot dogs are from “AMERICA.” … {Star Spangled Banner plays in the background} … I never knew how patriotic I was until he insulted our hot dogs.

Well, over the years, I’ve come to accept that even though I’ve brainwashed him into liking peanut butter and jelly and other such American delicacies, he will always believe Salvadoran hot dogs are superior to American hot dogs. He still talks about the hot dog vendors in the streets of El Salvador in the same way one would wistfully describe a beloved girlfriend they had left behind.

Sensuntepeque, Cabañas en El Salvador
(image source)


I have even tried to accommodate my husband by preparing the hot dogs in a more Salvadoran fashion. Per Carlos’s instructions, this involves:

• Slicing the hot dogs in a spiral
• Making sure the hot dog is cooked well done (either grilled or fried in oil)
• Toasting the bun
• Preparing a cabbage & mustard topping

I don’t know if that is officially a “Salvadoran hot dog” – but that’s how he’s asked me to make them. Here is how I make the cabbage topping.


Salvadoran Cabbage Topping for Hot Dogs

You need:

1/2 a small cabbage head shredded
yellow mustard
salt and pepper


Heat a few tablespoons of cooking oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add cabbage – frying while stirring for a minute. Add a few tablespoons of mustard. Continue to cook until cabbage caramelizes a bit, but don’t cook until soggy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve on top of hot dogs.


As for Suegra, she goes one step further – she eats her hot dog inside of a tortilla.

Suegra's hot dog


  1. Okay it’s 5:53 a.m. here and it is way too early to be thinking about food, but you just made me crave a big old Mexican hamburger complete with avocado, jalapeños and ham (literally a hamburger)… along with all the usual suspects. MMMMM, just thinking about it makes my mouth water. On hot dogs, I like them all so long as you hold the relish and ketchup… and add lots of mustard instead, lol

  2. Jaja! Ay Tracy! Your Suegra´s version is a hoot! Jajajaja!!!
    Hot dogs in Mexico are sometimes called “hochos” and they also come in many different variations.
    Hamburgers, like Juan said, as well.
    But don´t get me started on the sushi… oh the many “Mexican” ways to prepare sushi! In Guadalajara we actually have street carts almost on every corner selling them. That´s how much we like our sushi á la Mexicana in La Perla Tapatía (that´s what we call GDL). Hmmm… I´ll try to get you some pics next time I´m there.
    Let me just tell you it involves a lot of chipotle and chiles toreados. ;D

    • I was just telling Juan how much I love sushi with wasabi — So spicy sushi Mexican-style sounds like a dream combination! Please do take photos and maybe help me figure out how I can re-create it here en los Uniteds!

  3. Seguro si Amiga! Always make sure you add some chipotle or chilitos toreados inside the sushi roll. Also, add chilitos toreados to the dipping soy sauce. That way you always make sure they are hot hot hot! Mmm!!!
    I´ll be in La Perla in May, so pics will be taken then for sure! ;D

  4. Tracy,

    I’m sure you make very tasty hot dogs, or “perros caliente” as they are known in Spanish.

    Your husbands reaction has to do more with nostalgia than with taste. We yearn for what we’ve left behind and it’s very hard to let go. But in any case, you cannot go wrong with pleasing your husband with “Salvadoran hot dogs”.


  5. I love reading about how other cultures/countries prepare certain foods. I loved eating hotdogs as a kid with lots of mustard. I even loved them with sauerkraut during Oktoberfest. But never cared much for my grandmother’s hot dogs. She boiled the hot dogs. Gross! Then I married Hubby and was introduced to Mexican Hot Dogs! YUMMMMM! They’re wrapped in bacon! BACON!!! :P Just thinking about them is making me hungry.

    I’m going to try your recipe next time I make hot dogs, which will be pretty soon, because the kiddies will be off from school for 2 weeks starting next week. :)

    • Wrapped in bacon! Will have to come check it out.

      (I also like sauerkraut – but no one else in the family does.)

  6. (Long time reader, first time commenter!)

    I lived in Chile for 5 months last year and was warned about their specialty, the “completo”: giant hot dog on a giant bready bun, piled high with mashed avocado, chopped tomato, and gobs of mayonnaise. My gringa friends turned up their noses, but I was in love!

    Also, a fun slideshow I found: around the world in 78 hot dogs!

    • Meghan! Where have you been all my bloggy life? :) What a great contribution to the conversation you made on your first comment! This is awesome – thanks!

      I don’t know if I’d like the Chilean hot dog, but I’ll try anything once or twice, (not a big fan of avocado – otherwise, sounds delish.) … Reminds me of the Chilean miner, Edison Peña. He had a hot dog in NY and said the ones in Chile were better. LOL.

      Hope you’ll comment again, amiga – thanks for reading.

  7. Yes, the weiner, hot dog, sausage, etc… they are literally variations all over the world and WAAAAAAY before the good ole U S of A was even thought of.

    If you get a chance watch Anthony Bourdain’s “No Reservations” he travels everywhere to sample a place’s finest cuisine, street vendor fare and home cooked meal in each region he visits. His personal favourite street food is always the hot dog (I think he’s from new York).

    I beleive americans did indeed invent the hamburger as a portable ground meat sandwich though. You can be very proud of that!

  8. Am I the only one? I never liked hot dogs. Never ate them as a kid. Rarely, if ever, eat them now. I’d say maybe one every three years. And so, I don’t make them for my kids…but they’ll eat them at other people’s houses, so they’re not completely deprived.

  9. LOL! I’m always hearing from my primos in Culiacán just how fabulous the Mexican hot dogs and burgers are! My tia even sent me a recipe once and I never did find the time to put it to the test! Now I’m salivating just thinking about it…lol. I’m going to dig that thing up this week! ;)

  10. En El Salvador, en las calles se les conoce como “Jotois” (siendo que a mucha gente le cuesta decir Hot Dog). Yo en lo particular no soy muy amiga de las salchichas. Cuando vi como las hacía (Oscar M) casi me desmayo. Además, cuando era chica, yo pensaba que la salchicha del Hot Dog era el pipis de los perros (sorry I had to throw this in here: el color era parecido, la forma, y eso de “Perro/Dog” en el nombre, me parecía sospechoso.
    A mi esoso si les gustan y cuando yo le hago, le preparo un “relish” que es a base de cebolla bien picada; la sofrío en aceite y cuando ya casi está, le añado mostaza y un poco de ketchup.

  11. Ahhh… this post filled me with such nostalgia. The first time my husband (de Mexico) ever cooked for me he made me huevos mexicanos con salchichas… with little cut up hot dogs. I thought it was total hot dog sacrilege (though I think I heard America the Beautiful playing in the background)!

    And the peanut butter? That took a while, but he’s hooked now.

    PS- Just found your blog… feel like I wrote some of those posts myself :)

    • Bienvenida! LOL, I love talking to other gringas married to Latinos – it’s scary how much we have in common sometimes. Can’t wait to check out your blog.


  12. El famoso Escabeche Salvadoreño.

    Aqui te dejo una version que aprendí de mi esposo, aunque y te cuento soy Salvadoreña de sangre y viví en El Salvador por 3 años. Al igual que vos tuve que aprender a cocinar para complacer a mis queridos amores. Esposo y 2 bellas hijas.

    1 Repollo picado en tiras
    1 Cebolla picada en tiras
    Sal y Piemta al gusto
    1/2 Cucharada de Aciete de Canola
    1 Pizca de Cayenne Pepper(opcional)
    1/2 cucharada de Vinagre
    Mostaza al gusto
    Mayonesas al guto

    El procedimiento de cocinarlo es igual a tu receta!
    Keep your head up you are doing a great job!

    By the way we are from el Granero de República del El Salvador.

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