BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Some people like their hot dogs topped with a thin layer of mustard and a scattering of diced onions, nothing more. Others want the sausage accompanied by the pungent tang of sauerkraut.
Adherents of Chicago-style hot dogs love the snap of a pickle spear laid alongside the sausage, plus a salad’s worth of other veggies. The bacon-wrapped LA Street Dog has fed generations outside sporting events, concerts and bars.
All of which is to say there are as many ways to customize a hot dog as there are wardrobe changes during a Taylor Swift concert.
Bakersfield street vendors and restaurants have long served a variety of frankfurter preparations, but when I stepped inside Bitwise Bakersfield’s Reset cafe I came across something new: the Japanese hot dog.
Piled high with shredded carrots, studded with crunchy garlic chips, wispy bonito flakes and fried leeks and enfolded by a sheet of dried seaweed, this 100% beef frank brings a cornucopia of flavors, among them a blast of umami. Even the mustard — spicy lemongrass — gets a twist.
In need of a pick-me-up? Grab a cortado, cappuccino or tea from the cafe at 1723 18th St. I had a potent espresso with my meal. Sipping espresso while noshing on hot dogs may sound unusual, but if Japanese hot dogs have shown me anything it’s that unexpected combinations can be among the most delicious.