California's Umai Savory Hot Dogs slated to set up shop in Vancouver

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      It looks like a forthcoming entry into the Vancouver food scene is gearing up to give Japadog a run for its money.

      Umai Savory Hot Dogs is slated to open at 1331 Robson Street, in the former space of Chef Lien Vietnamese Cuisine.

      Umai was launched as a food cart in 1992 in San Jose, California, by Loi Tran.

      According to the Umai website, although Tran immigrated from Vietnam, he combined sushi and hot dog ingredients, and chose the only Japanese word he knew, which means “yummy”, for the name of his business.

      Umai Savory Hot Dogs

      The extensive menu online (it remains to be seen if there will be any differences at the Vancouver location) features a sprawling range of 24 variations of hot dogs that draw upon North American, Latin American, Asian, and European culinary influences.

      A cousin of the California roll, there’s the California Bae, a chicken hot dog with avocado, cucumber, feta cheese, teriyaki sauce, and white sesame. 

      The Saigon Hustle is a cross between banh mi and a hot dog: bratwurst layered with pickled daikon and carrots, cilantro, sweet chili sauce, and teriyaki-hoisin sauce, and topped with sliced jalapenos and roasted peanuts.

      The Shibuya Honey consists of a turkey hot dog covered in roasted seaweed, sweet dried onions, and terimayo and other sauces.

      Mucho Magnificent smothers a hot link with diced onions, corn tortilla chips, cilantro, creamy habanero, and cilantro lime sauce.

      For the Buffalo Banger, a chicken hot dog is covered with diced carrots and celery, barbecue chips, and buffalo and buttermilk ranch sauces. 

      Also on offer are two house-specialty dogs: the Umai x truffle dog (beef angus hot dog with white truffle shiitake mushrooms, minced black truffle, truffled aioli, teriyaki sauce, furikake, and onions) and the Nashville Brisket (beef angus hot dog with smoked pepperjack cheese, pork brisket, barbecue sauce, and relish).

      Among the four signature sausages are selections such as the Sicilian Classico (Italian sausage, mozzarella, parmesan, black olives, marinara sauce, and oregano) and the Baco Maco (Andouille sausage, cheddar mac and cheese, smoked applewood bacon bits, spicy cheddar sauce, and barbecue chips).

      For vegetarians, they do have four types of veggie dogs and sausages, including Mexican chipotle and smoked apple sage.

      Umai Savory Hot Dogs

      But the menu also ventures beyond hot dogs.

      Four hamburgers are listed, from the Busan Boom (quarter-pound Angus beef patty, umami glaze, onions, cheddar, teriyaki, kimchi relish, string frites) to the Kyoto Baga (quarter-pound beef patty, umami glaze, cheese, batter-fried onions, habanero sauce, and jalapenos).

      Two sliders include (take note, fans of Hawaiian musubi) Musubi Sliders, made with teriyaki-glazed Spam, caramelized onions, roasted seaweed, and creamy sauce on Toasted King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls.

      Appetizers include poku wings (pork riblets) and tori wings (chicken wings), waffle dogs (beef hot dogs covered in waffle batter), inu rangoons (wonton-wrapped cream cheese), French fries with 10 seasoning options, noodles, and desserts.

      The website states that all of Umai’s hot dogs and sausages are naturally smoked, made with natural casings, and are free of gluten, MSG, byproducts, fillers, and artificial flavours or colours.

      Umai currently has locations in San Jose and Sacramento, with spots in Glendale and Topanga to come.

      An opening date or time frame for the Vancouver location hasn't been specified yet. The Georgia Straight has contacted Umai for further details.

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