What Makes New York City-Style Hot Dogs Unique?

New York City is a metropolis teeming with a diverse yet dense concentration of different cultures, languages, backgrounds, people, and worldviews. There's never enough time to sleep, let alone to see everything there is to see. It has an infinite amount of Michelin-starred restaurants, hole-in-the-wall spots, mom-and-pop diners, food carts, and a vast number of mouth-watering places to eat in the infamous concrete jungle. If you're in a hurry and on a budget, New York is also the place to get cheap and satisfying on-the-go food, from pizza slices to taco trucks to dollar dumplings, and, of course, the coveted New York City hot dog.

From Gray's Papaya to the abundance of hot dog carts around the city, it's never hard to satisfy one's New York City hot dog craving; each hot dog carries a specific taste of the Big Apple. But what is it that makes the hot dogs of New York so unique?

The simplicity of a NYC hot dog

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, New Yorkers are the top consumers of hot dogs across the country; making up the majority of the billions of Americans who chow down on this cheap eat. But hot dog toppings vary from region to region, and a Chicago dog is starkly different from a New York hot dog. Chicago dogs boast a colorful array of toppings, from yellow mustard to dark green relish to white raw onion, a green pickle spear, red peppers, tomatoes, and black specks from the poppy seed bun. In Texas, dogs come slathered with chili, cheese, and jalapenos and in Philly, dogs come with a vinegary slaw and spicy mustard.

The further one goes west, the weirder hot dogs get: in Seattle, hot dogs are served grilled and with cream cheese. Thankfully, New York-style hot dogs are tried, true and simple. What sets a New York hot dog apart from the rest, according to Mashed, may be the fact that they're cooked in boiling water right there in the cart and served immediately, with brown mustard, sauerkraut, and sweet-onion relish. However, according to The Takeout, there are only two tried and true NYC hot dog toppings: sauerkraut or a tomato-based onion sauce.

Have a craving for an NYC hot dog now but can't get there? Watch Robert Pattinson going through a New York City hot dog crisis (via YouTube).