Everyone loves a hot dog, with a fresh bun and hot juicy meat. But it's the relishes that really elevate the humble hot dog into something special, and make our mouths water and our eyes grow bigger than our stomachs! From simple mustard and tomato sauce to more exotic flavours, we take a look at the origins of relish, and the wide variety of hot dog relishes around the world.
What exactly is a relish?
The definition of a relish is a cooked, chopped and pickled vegetable or fruit used as a condiment, the idea of which is thought to have originated in India.
When it comes to hot dogs, the term 'relish' is more widely defined as a general topping. Many different cultures have developed their own unique relish flavours. Relishes can even be associated with particular cities, especially in the USA, where the hot dog remains one of the most popular varieties of street food available.
The wide world of relish
It seems that most countries around the world love a good hot dog, although the flavours and style vary widely.
In Germany for example, mustard is the base of a hot dog without a bun, topped with potato salad and sauerkraut. Hot dog lovers in Montreal in Canada also like mustard with chopped onion and cabbage as a relish. For something a little more exotic, the Brazilians use pico de galo, a fresh salsa-style relish.
Street vendors in the Philippines offer hot dogs with a difference, smothering them in sweet banana ketchup as their version of relish. A Chilean hot dog is characterised by a mashed avocado and mayonnaise relish, and the Danes prefer traditional tomato sauce, mustard and onions.
Japanese hot dogs are slathered with cucumber relish. Like the Danes, the Swiss also take a more traditional route. They simply hollow out a baguette, sliding the sausage in and using good old tomato sauce as a relish.
The USA leads the way in relish
There's nothing more iconic than the American hot dog, and the USA doesn't disappoint when it comes to inventing relishes with a difference. Relishes in America vary from city to city, with regional differences very apparent.
The New York City hot dog for example has its own unique flavour, due to its red onion sauce. Next on the list is the Chicago hot dog, famous for its neon relish, which is bright green and sweet.
If you're a spice fan, Connecticut is the place to go to try hot pepper relish with a range of other toppings. In much of the American south, a creamy coleslaw sauce is the standard relish for a hot dog.
The famous Philadelphia pepper hash is a fresh relish, made with cabbage, green pepper and carrots, marinated in vinegar, sugar and salt.
Australian hot dog favourites
Here at home, there’s nothing Australians like more than a sausage in a bun!
At a hot dog cart in Australia, you can find the traditional tomato sauce and mustard relishes, as well as a variety of other sweet and spicy flavours. Think jalapeno peppers, corn, pickles and red peppers to name a few.
No matter the particular flavour, it's the relish that turns a bun and a sausage into a gourmet treat that we simply can't get enough of. A hot dog just wouldn’t be complete without the extra toppings, with flavours that explode in the mouth at the first bite. Yum!
At Yummy Dogs we use our own authentic Hot Dog Relishes & Toppings exclusively made for us and imported all the way from North America.