October 23, 2009

Steffy the hot dog

The most memorable thing about my trip to Aarhus and Copenhagen turns out to be a humble little hot dog. Yes, a hot dog! Steff-Houlberg is a name familiar to many hot dog lovers. It’s a fast food chain from Denmark that started its first sausage stall in 1921.

What was once a sausage wagon is now a permanent stand

What was once a sausage wagon is now a permanent stand

A typical Steff  ‘red’ hot dog consists of a red, long and thin sausage, usually boiled and stuffed in a soft roll, topped with pickles, onions and lotsa condiments.

However, my experience from trying different Steff stalls resulted in various levels of ‘yum’. The overall taste is pretty much the same, but it’s the little things that makes a standard, off-the-stand hot dog that much more enjoyable.

My favourite Steff was actually the very first one that I tried in Aarhus – the second largest city in Denmark. This, to me, was special Steff. The soft rolls were lightly grilled, warming the bread and giving it a slight crispy exterior and a soft, chewy interior. We asked for ‘the works’ which included cheese, fresh diced onions, crispy fried onions (ristede) and a dollop of sweet relish. Topped with mustard and ketchup, we were ready to have a messy good time.

The 'special' Steff

The 'special' Steff

As we ventured across the rest of Aarhus and Copenhagen, the ‘Steffs’ we encountered were of the ‘nothing-to-shout-about’ variety, they kept their standards, but no one grilled the soft rolls, there wasn’t any relish in sight and only sliced pickles in its place. Some came overwhelmed by raw, chopped onions which I promptly swept aside.

I have been raving about the red hot dog (røde pølser) but in a sausage wagon, you will find a whole variety of other sausages like the grilled chicken ones or the smoked pork versions. Typically, the original way of eating the sausage in Denmark is with some ketchup, Danish remoulade (similar to a tartar sauce), mustard and the sausage is separate from the bread.

The bread-less original

The bread-less original

The others...

The others...

I never knew I could reminisce so much about a sausage in a bread roll, but I do remember that first bite with much droolworthy fondness. Just as Humphrey Bogart once said ‘A hot dog at the ball park is better than steak at the Ritz’. There wasn’t a ball park in sight where we were in Denmark, but the hot dog was indeed better than many meals we had in the local restaurants.

The last squirt of mustard

The last squirt of mustard


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About droolfactor

It's all about my gastronomical journeys, and sometimes an inedible thought or two. One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. ~Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright, Pavarotti, My Own Story This is my personal journey where I devote my attention to eating, cooking, experimenting and taking chances. Anything I come across with a droolfactor worth sharing, it's here. I hope you'll enjoy this journey with me.


Travelling Tummy