Unique Hot Dog Toppings from Around the World

Flickr_StevenDepoloFlickr_StevenDepoloUnusual burger toppings are all the hype right now, but why should burgers alone get all the attention? Hot dogs will be leaping into the spotlight this summer, too, as they shed their traditional relationship with ketchup and mustard in favor of some more exciting toppings.

Related: Over-the-Top Burger Toppings

Recently, more chefs have been focusing on the hot dog's incredible versatility, and various states around the U.S. have been establishing their own opinions about what makes the perfect hot dog. Chefs and home cooks can expand these interesting hot dog variations beyond the U.S., however, by drawing from key cuisine ingredients from various world cultures.

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As an example, restaurants and food carts like AsiaDog have been boosting hot dogs' reputation as inexpensive street food by offering customers hot dogs with an Asian twist, featuring a menu of eight hot dogs that are anything but ordinary.

But why stop with Asian-inspired hot dogs? You can make the classic American hot dog into a vehicle for worldly cuisine by playing with all kinds of toppings. Challenge yourself at your next summer barbecue to expand your hot dog repertoire by making a hot dog with mango salsa and avocados for a Mexican influence, or a gravy-infused spoonful of mashed potatoes for a British spin.

Related: 15 Hot Dogs From Around the World

It's time to celebrate an American staple with various toppings that give a nod to all of the different world cultures that make America the melting pot that it is.Take your next barbecue as an opportunity to explore your own cultural heritage by topping your hot dog with foods that are traditional to your family, cultural background, or ethnicity.

What better way is there to ring in the summer than with a second look at the popular, well-loved hot dog? The possibilities are endless.

Middle Eastern-Inspired Hot Dog

Countries of the Middle East and Western Asia are home to cuisines that have a degree of homogeneity.As a crossroads between Europe, Asia, and Africa, the Middle East has long been a hub of food and recipe exchange that encompasses the poultry and fruits of the Persians and the spices and legumes of India and Africa. To capture this flavor palate, top your dog with hummus and olive pieces and serve it in a pita. To make the dish more authentically Middle Eastern, serve falafel or lamb-based hot dogs in place of the traditional pork meat.

Related: America's 35 Best Hot Dogs

African-Inspired Hot Dog

Africa is the second largest landmass on Earth and home to hundreds of different cultural and ethnic groups, so pinning down a single cuisine type as essentially "African" would be a misnomer. With that being said, there are plenty of options, some of which include topping your hot dog with rice mixed with cumin, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and sage for a barbecue inspired by classic East African cuisine.

Related: The Best (and Worst) Hot Dogs to Buy

Carribean-Inspired Hot Dog

As a mixture of African, Amerindian, European, East Indian, and Chinese cuisines, traditional Caribbean dishes are usually packed with flavor and variety. To give your barbecue a taste of the Caribbean, try topping your hot dog with sliced peppers, cilantro, and tomatoes and serving homemade plantain chips on the side.

Native American-Inspired Hot Dog

Do you want to take your American barbecue back to its roots? Native American cuisine is trademarked by living flavors and ideas. Topping your hot dog with any combination of the "Three Sisters" of maize (corn), beans, and squash can help give your barbecue an indigenous American flavor.

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-Ally Bruschi, The Daily Meal