Japadog in Downtown Vancouver

Street food is the pits in Vancouver.

As far as I know there are nothing but hot dogs that are allowed on the streets. It is kind of sad right? With such a cosmopolitan population, there are so much potential to make Vancouver the mecca of street food. Already we are probably one of the best in terms on ethnic cuisine in North America but for street food, it is the pits … with one exception.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3X-yUxJo-WQ]
Despite this limitation imposed on street food vendors by the city health authorities, we do have something that we could be proud of.

When Anthony Bourdain came to Vancouver, the one thing he chose to feature was Japadog (wind to the 7th minute of the youtube above). I might be wrong but I think Japadog is uniquely Vancouver.


Japadog started off with a storm at the corner of Burrard and Smithe in downtown Vancouver. Back then, the long queues were a spectacle. There were people who would stand in line for 30 minutes just for a hotdog.

When I was there recently, there was no queue. Maybe it was because they were forced to move across the street due to ongoing road construction at their usual spot and not many of their regular customers were aware if it.


Besides Bourdain, there are quite a number of famous people who had tried Japadog. They proudly display their famous fans’ pictures on their cart and what they ate.

Some of them are more famous than others. Click on the picture above if you can’t read properly who they are. 😉


Bewildered by the many combinations, I decided that that I won’t go wrong with their most expensive item on their menu — the Kurobuta Terimayo.

Kurobuta is described as the “Kobe Beef” of pork. According to Wikipedia, Kurobuta is listed as vulnerable because their are only 300 breeding females. Hmmm … I learn new things everyday.


I am not a hotdog person but I like Japadog. It is unlike any hotdog I had ever tried. What makes Japadog a difference is the … “Terimayo”. I can only guess that Terimayo is a play on the words teriyaki sauce and mayonnaise.

The bread was a bit dry but otherwise it was great. I could eat this everyday.

I was thinking … Japadog would be very easy to imitate. I am curious why there are no one who copies them until now.


It is confusing deciding what to order right?

I know you can’t read that small notice that was paste across the word between “Oroshi” and “Kurobuta” on the right image. That note says that the Vancouver City is imposing more stringent conditions on Japadog during winter and this will mean they will have to scale down their menu. The note says that they are still negotiating with the City over this issue.


About a block or two away, Japadog is opening a restaurant. Can you believe that?

It is on Robson between Seymour and Richards. They are going to open in November.

I am curious as to direction that Japadog is going. Are they moving to a shop because of they are forced to do so by the city …


… or do you think it has to do with the Olympics? I can just imagine that if they play their cards right, the Olympics could be a mega springboard for this uniquely Vancouver brand. They are located right smack in the middle of the party zones of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics. I am making this up … but … why not, right?

[googlemaps https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&ll=49.285276,-123.122921&spn=0.031241,0.077162&msid=107891947395980363953.000476f744a1561cbc1ca&output=embed&w=600&h=400]

There are three locations where you could get the Japadog. The three locations are marked in red pushpins and the new restaurant location is marked with the blueish icon.

Japadog (Burrard & Smithe) on UrbanspoonJapadog (Burrard & Pender) on UrbanspoonJapadog (Coal Harbour) on Urbanspoon

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Adelaide

    I have heard lots about it and have been dying to try it out, but (1) I’m rarely in downtown Vancouver (2) I never really know where their stand is located. So it’s good to hear that they’re setting up a shop. I’ll be making sure to get down there if and when I’m in downtown Vancouver.

  2. Jonny

    It’s bureaucracy to the best. Japadog is doing great so the city wants Japadog to pay more for fulfilling the regulation. It’s very business unfriendly and pure socialism. They sure know how to ruin business and economy.

  3. sam

    6.25 for a hotdog is absurd im sorry….. Only in Vancouver

  4. jenn

    oh, sam…buddy!
    you say this because you haven’t tried one!
    and trust me, these ‘dogs are a decent size and good quality. i finally got to try japadog this summer..and the frugalista inside of me had to agree that though it’s somewhat pricey you get more than what you pay 😉

  5. Simon

    I had the terimayo during my recent layover (had the tenku bakudanyaki in richmond a day before) and found it to be quite tasty as well. Next time I’ll try Oroshi. Looking forward to the restaurant.

  6. Julie

    I love this place! I’m craving a japadog now…

    A restaurant? Sweet. A new favorite place to go 🙂

  7. Ann

    Hi, my comment isn’t regarding Japadog. I am sorry but the ads on your pictures are distracting and irritating. Any chance they will come down?

    1. Ben

      Hi Ann:
      Alright, we had taken down the ads. They are annoying to us too!

  8. Ed Lau

    I love Japadog…not only because they taste great but years later, my Japadog post on my blog STILL gets traffic. Viewed like 30,000 times…

    1. Ben

      Hey Ed:
      30,000 times? That’s amazing. What do you use to track pageviews to particular pages? I use WordPress Blog Stat but I am guessing you are using something else because you mentioned “years later”.

      1. Ed Lau

        I just saw that the StumbleUpon page for that article was at 24,000 views plus I know that I’ve gotten several thousand more from other sources such as Digg, Reddit, etc. This doesn’t include just straight up Google either!

  9. Ed Lau

    By the way…the Miso Mayo is my favorite.

  10. etranger

    I tried to go there once, but was in my car and couldn’t find anywhere within 5 blocks in any direction to park. When we did park and walk back, the cart wasn’t there any more. So I’m glad they’re opening a restaurant that won’t walk away!

    1. Ed Lau

      The easiest place the park is across from IGA. Lots of that area is no parking but there’s usually plenty of space. Or just do what I do and park illegally. How long does it take to eat a hot dog anyways?

  11. Angie

    I tried to make my own version of a Japadog today after seeing the post here..since we can’t get it here in the Netherlands. I love the taste of pork with seawood teriyaki and mayo combination. Thanks for the post. This will be served on my upcoming potluck Halloween party.

    1. Suanne

      Fried onions … don’t forget the fried onions. And the mayo, use Japanese mayo. And make lots of slicing on the pork sausage too. 🙂

      1. Angie

        Hi Suanne,

        On the second bun I did put the fried onions and yes Japanese mayo. Since the many slices in the sausage were so visible in the picture I just copied that as well 🙂

      2. Ed Lau

        Wasabi mayo is key! Go with a 3:1 mixture of mayo to wasabi. 1:1 if you’re adventurous!

  12. grayelf

    Thanks for the wider shot of the planned brick’n’mortar J-dog. Tsukune dogs? Fries? Be still my heart. Wish it was open already, cuz I know where I’d be going before David Sedaris on Sunday :-).

  13. Francis

    Just an FYI you are right that Hot Dogs are one of the only food allowed in Vancouver, oddly Chestnuts are the other allowed street food. Vancouver Food Policy dept is exploring the feasibility of opening Vancouver up to more options. My office was interviewed about it a while back and we said yes! I mean who doesn’t want some options!

    1. fmed

      Francis – was it the City of Vancouver calling your office for an interview? (Was it a survey?) If so, then that is good news.

  14. etranger

    Portland has tons of food carts, and Seattle is beginning to. One of them is an old Airstream modified to look like a giant pig — yes, they sell barbecue. They twitter their locations as they move around town. Portland has several city blocks in different parts of downtown devoted to the carts. Most are staffed by chefs, so the food is pretty good! They’re usually small trailers, not carts like Japadog.

    This link references the pig truck, known as Maximus Minimus. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/restaurants/2009888690_deal18.html

    Washington is just now allowing craft distilleries, which are big in Portland too. Those aren’t on food cartsm of course, but they are allowed to sell their products. That’s a big step as Washington all liquor sales are at state-run stores. Food trends seem to move around our large urban zone, so maybe Vancouver food cart purveyors will be allowed more freedom soon!

    Here’s more than you’d like to know about the large urban zone theory: from an urban planning perspective, Vancouver BC to Eugene OR is one large city known as Cascadia (On the east coast of the US, it’s Boston to Washington DC, known as The BosWash).
    Here are two web pages about Cascadia, one more serious and one calling for secession from both the US and Canada!


  15. etranger

    Just for fun I made an attempt at homemade Japadogs today. The reaction of the crowd was good. They all thought it sounded horrible but they liked it. They all like sushi, one is Japanese, and several are biased against hot dogs having worked in hot dog stands at the fair.

    To start, I marinated one large pack of high quality beef dogs in teriyaki ginger marinade for a day. I used Costco dogs and bottled marinade. I chose this because I know Costco has high standards and I knew I couldn’t get the same ones Japadog uses. Therefore, this is only a rough approximation.

    5 large onions sliced thin
    Nori sheets cut up into thin strips
    Long english cucumber cut up (sushi has cucumber, even though japadog didn’t) in long strips to fit bun
    kewpie mayonnaise
    kewpie wasabi mayonnaise (not sure of brand, similar bottle)

    I don’t have a grill at hand in the winter, so I fried the onions in my large cast iron pan with some olive oil. When they were done, I cut the dogs in two as they were very long. I slashed them like they do in the japadog video and fried/sauteed them in the same pan. I used medium heat because I didn’t want the sweet teriyaki sauce to burn. I had two batches and kept everything warm in a 150 F oven.

    Served it buffet style with buns, dogs, onions, cukes, nori and mayos.

    To make it healthier we had fruit smoothies to drink. That’s also why I added the cucumber.

    Everyone really liked the teriyaki dogs and grilled onion with kewpie mayo and cucumber. They did not like the wasabi mayo much (they do eat sushi and are familiar with wasabi), and the nori was too strong in the quantity shown in the japadog picture. I am going to mix up some terimayo and misomayo and try that on the leftover dogs tomorrow.

    Someday soon (AFTER the olympics) I will get up there and have the real thing!

    1. Ben

      You happen to have a pix of your Japadog, etranger?

      1. etranger

        No one had a camera out. But I will get a picture. I need a reliable camera handy if I am going to do actual blogging!

        1. Ben

          Hi etranger: I must say that I am impressed with your wealth of knowledge and the length of your comments on chowtimes. Reading all your longer comments (not this one) makes me feel like I am reading your blog. Oh yeah … you MUST start your own blog. Make it your 2010 resolution? 🙂

  16. grayelf

    A J-dog update: they now have ume dogs (with special plum sauce) and edamame dogs (a brat with… you guessed it). On the downside, the powers-that-be at City Hall have decreed that during the Olympics they can’t serve…. wait for it… cheeses slices. WTF? Some kind of potential health hazard apparently. Yeesh.

    1. Ben

      You know, grayelf, I am not surprised by the no-cheese decree at all judging by where the city hall had been heading all these while. It does seem that the City Hall is hell bent on closing down the only successful street food cart instead of helping them grow. There is clearly a demand for these kind of food in the city. Thanks for the update!

    2. fmed

      No Cheese during the Olympics Gromit? I’m gritting my teeth as I type this….

  17. Marike

    Does anyone know if Japadog opened their restaurant yet??

    I’m making a rare trip downtown this Sat and want to finally try these. And maybe also Kintaro or Gyoza King or Stephos if my stomach is as big as my eyes…hehehe.

  18. Canto Curious

    It’s gonna be 6 bucks to park downtown…another 6 bucks for the dog…I better have an orgasm when I put that thing in my mouth!

  19. Amy

    Hey B&S,
    do you guys know if they sell veggie dogs.. i noticed “veggie” written on the board but don’t know if that refers to it being an actual veggie dog or just having loads of veggies on a regular dog lol.. and has the restaurant been open yet?

  20. Crispy Lechon

    Hey Ben, there is a new Japadog style hotdog cart right here in Richmond. I just read this new post from Ed eats. The cart is operated by Gyoza King.


    1. Ben

      Hi Crispy:

      That’s exciting news. If I keep the score correct, this was the score:
      When Japadog was introduced: Vancouver 1 Richmond 0
      When Fumisen came into being: Vancouver 1 Richmond 3
      When Vancouver launches the street cart program: Vancouver 13 Richmond 3
      With Grazy Dog: Vancouver 13 Richmond 4
      Actually if we take into account the Night Market, perhaps it is like Vancouver 13 Richmond 30+

      I hope Richmond City Hall launches it’s own program. Make it a Richmond Glutton Square and it will be sensational. If only the Richmond City Hall call a few of foodies to help them put together the mother of all food cart programs. 🙂


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