May 6, 2009

China mysteries: hot dog buns

I have a cast iron grill pan that weighs around 5 pounds. It's great for cooking the occasional hot dogs and other stuff. It recently occurred to me that I've gotten used to the fact that it's really tough to find a reasonable hot dog bun in Beijing.

You can go to any local Chinese supermarket (as opposed to an import grocery store, like Jenny Lou's), and you can pick out probably three different brands of hot dogs. They're just like the one's back home, made with lips and a-holes, and tasty too.

But try finding a hot dog bun. I seen some rolls that look like hot dog buns at Wal-mart, but it turns out that the buns either had coconut and sugar infused with the bread, or radish trimmings mixed in. Needless to say, I've had to get by like a poor man by rolling my hot dogs in white bread. It's just not the same as an actual hot dog bun.

I sometimes throw the white bread on my hot grill pan for a short time to soften it up and give it some more flavor, but I'd much prefer a hot dog bun. Even the cheapo Safeway-brand ones would be fine.

And the other thing I can't understand is mustard. Chinese supermarkets seem to always have three brands of ketchup, but no yellow mustard. I've seen wasabi, you know, that greenish Japanese horseradish, but that's the closest you can come. I have to get my mustard at an import grocery store.

So, in summary, supermarkets in Beijing typically have:
  • hot dogs
  • ketchup
but they don't have:
  • hot dog buns
  • mustard
Now I'm all for learning more about other cultures and expanding my horizons, but I just don't understand this difference. How do sell just hot dogs, and forget to sell half of the necessary accompaniments for them?

You know the scene in Father of the Bride where Steve Martin freaks out in the supermarket because they sell hot dog buns in packs of 12, and hot dogs in packs of 8? I feel just as frustrated sometimes. Having to eat my hot dogs on toasted white bread just rubs it in even more.

I have money to take a cab. I've got money to buy hot dog buns and mustard, too. If only Wal-mart and my local Chinese supermarket chains would start to carry these necessities.


Blogger Jason Raish said...

also there are only like 5 spices at the stores. well spices that Americans would know. they don't even have cinnamon.

9:50 PM  

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