A few weeks after Chris St. Cavish’s epic breakdown of Stardog, we revisited Channel One mall to see how things have progressed for Shanghai’s pioneer in the field of Asian contemporary hot dogs.
We initially happened across Stardog during its ultra whispery soft opening, and months later, we are pleased to discover some new developments with the menu. First of all, they’ve done away with the bratwurst, which was a bit too Bavarian for our red-blooded hot dog loving tastes (although, in this battle the winner isn’t the all-beef frank from our ballpark days, but Chinese made Vienna sausage. At least it looks red). Second, the dogs are now bigger, and instead of being smothered in their sesame seed cradles they now protrude prominently into the world. And finally, the prices have come down, from an already recession-friendly 25 RMB to a positively bailout worthy 18 RMB. Bigger dogs, less dough; be still our beating hearts, this actually can happen in Shanghai!
As for the food itself, once your mind wraps itself around this initially bizarre concept of a mixed marriage between classic American processed goodness and traditional Asian flavors, some of these dogs are surprisingly good. While the Fish Element might have flummoxed our Smartshanghai contemporaries, we found it…pretty delicious, actually. It’s a dog topped with spicy fish roe sauce, seaweed strips, and bonito flakes tastes like, well, exactly what we just wrote. We could try to be poetic here and say something about how it’s like the ocean in a bun, but really, we’ve been sitting here for a long time figuring out how to aptly describe the Fish Element, and let’s just say it’s pretty indescribable, but in a good way. The Teriyaki Temptation, Stardog’s most popular item, is also tasty. The teriyaki sauce mixes well with the mayonnaise, creating sort of a über special sauce that almost makes you forget you’re eating seaweed.
There’s no reason to throw up a dog-by-dog analysis; St. Cavish and his crew have put together a pretty good guide to Stardog’s offerings. With the discounted prices and the longer wieners, you’ll just have to go try them out for yourself. Be mentally prepared for some taste bud dissonance at first, and then succumb to it; we’re converted skeptics ourselves.
Stardog – 6/F, Channel One Mall, No.155 Changshou Lu, near Shanxi Bei Lu (长寿路155号6楼, 近陕西北路) Tel: 400-688-4600 Hours: 10am-10pm daily
Eric Hu is Shanghaiist’s Food Editor. Email tips, recommendations, and news and gossip about Shanghai’s food scene to food at shanghaiist.com.