There's every chance that the best hot dog in the world is in Iceland.
It's called a pylsur.
Here are the vital details. It tastes properly of meat, not an indistinguishable blur of brown. The sausage snaps when you bite it. It comes with not one, but two types of onions (fried and raw). And as for condiments, in a pylsur there are no less than three.
The best example of it is found in Reykjavik at Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur.
It's a name that translates as 'Town's Best'. Bæjarins Beztu has been serving these hot dogs for more than 60 years.
It's an unassuming red and white caravan near the harbour within flinging distance of the flea market. At most times of day you will be in a line.
Later in the evening when people are pouring out of the nearby pubs and clubs, that line becomes a serious queue.
The first day we visit there's a Mercedes haphazardly pulled up next to the stand. The driver is quickly scarfing down a dripping dog and leaning over, trying not to get any of the red, brown or white sauce on her cream coat.
Next to the stand there's just one worn wooden picnic table where you can sit. It's got vertical slats purposely built into the surface to park a dog, just in case you want to forward cue a second helping.
NB you might not think you need two, but there's every chance after your first bite you'll be going back for more.
Ordering is a simple process. You point, nod and then hand over 280 ISK. Or you can ask for "eina með öllu" ("one with everything").
What you then get is a long white and fluffy bun and a smearing of goodness. The sausages are a combination of pork, beef and lamb (there are more sheep in Iceland than people). These days the sausages are rumoured to be braised in beer.
The meat is sweet, salty and rich. Then there are the sauces. The first is a stripe of ketchup. The second is a special lightly spiced mustard the colour of tree bark. The third is remoulade. It's a mayonnaise that's been punched up with gherkins and capers.
But the real heroes are the onions. Their pairing of a sprinkle of some that have been crunchy fried with the prickle of others that are raw is a stroke of ingenuity.
There are plenty of other things to do in Reykjavik. Swanning about in the Blue Lagoon is tranquillity itself. There are geysers to see and Viking boat sculptures to pose beside. There's great live music and a serious coffee scene.
If you can pair any of those activities with a jaunt past the best hot dog stand in the world, then you've got your day made.
And if you just can't make it over the seas, you can always try to make them at home...
Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur
How to make pyslur at home
6 long white, fluffy hot dog buns
6 pylsur sausages (you can order them here)
4 tablespoons of Icelandic hot dog mustard (you can order it here)
4 tablespoons of ketchup
4 tablespoons of remoulade (recipe below*)
6 tablespoons of crispy deep fried onion slivers
6 tablespoons of diced eschallots
1.5 cups of beer (Icelandic Viking or Gull are classic Icelandic beers, but any lager will do).
1. Braise the pylsur in the beer until they are hot.
2. Split the buns down the middle and lightly toast them.
3. Add one sausage and the raw onions to each bun.
4. Add a stripe of mustard, remoulade* and ketchup down each sausage.
5. Top with the crispy fried onions.
*Recipe for remoulade
3/4 cup of neutral tasting oil
1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon of Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon of white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons of chopped gherkin
2 teaspoons of chopped capers
1 tablespoon of chopped chervil
1.Whisk the egg yolk and the mustard together.
2.Slowly start dripping in the oil, whisking and emulsifying the oil into the egg yolk.
3.Continue slowly dripping in the remainder of the oil, whisking all the time.
4.When the mayonnaise is thick, add the white wine vinegar, the chopped gherkin, capers and chervil.
(Nb, depending on how heavy handed you are with your condiments you may have some remoulade left over. It is excellent with boiled potatoes.)
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