The humble hotdog is a Danish culinary tradition – there are hotdog stalls located on key intersections and transit points all across Copenhagen (and the whole country!). It’s not uncommon for people to quickly grab a hotdog to eat while waiting for the bus, or just as a quick snack to satiate hunger pangs before heading out for a late dinner.
Given that Copenhagen is very expensive for a traveller who’s become accustomed to the prices in countries like Portugal, Spain and Germany, hotdogs became our food of choice when out and about. Most days we would pack a light lunch (sandwiches and a piece of fruit), and supplement our meals with a hotdog in the afternoon. All in all, we ended up having six hot dogs during our stay in Copenhagen.
Our first dog was a standard hot dog topped with both fresh and fried onions, pickles and different sauces from the Helle’s Poelser hotdog stall at Norreport station while we waited for our bus back to our Airbnb apartment in Norrebro.
The most popular hotdog sauces are ketchup, mustard and remoulade – and this seems to be a standard topping for hotdogs everywhere. Interestingly, the hotdog bun itself is only about half the length of the sausage, so it makes for particularly treacherous eating as you run the risk of losing the structural integrity of the dog and spilling pickles and onions all over yourself.
Our second hotdog was a ‘French hotdog’, or a Fransk Hotdog, from a stall outside Christianshavn metro station. The French dog is very simple compared to the usual Danish dogs with their elaborate toppings, consisting of a simple sausage with a squirt of mustard stuck into a warmed and toasted bun.
Our third dog was a ristet hotdog from Mikey’s Corner in our local area of Norrebro, located at one of the major intersections near the cemetery. This was very similar to the first hotdog that we ordered, but with what seemed to be a slimmer and longer sausage, and fewer toppings. Again, it was served in a tiny bun.
This was when we started to realise that not all hotdogs are made equal. While it seems that a lot of the hotdogs are supplied by one of a handful of Danish suppliers so there’s consistency in that sense, there’s also many different ways that stalls can distinguish themselves – perhaps thinner, sweeter pickles, or crispier fried onions. In this case, the pickles were definitely sweeter and not as deliciously tangy and sour as the pickles from our first hot dog.
We became a little more adventurous with our fourth hotdog from Hos Tina & Michael, a stall located on the plaza near the entrance to Kongens Nytorv metro station. We ordered the Kaempe hotdog with a svob sausage – where the sausage is wrapped with bacon before being grilled. This was definitely an indulgence and a half, with the deliciously salty and savoury bacon drippings soaking into the bun. The sausage was a lot plumper, and seemed a lot meatier than the other sausages – this is more of an Aussie barbeque sausage, rather than a frankfurt.
Our second-to-last hotdog in Copenhagen was from John’s Hotdog Deli outside Copenhagen Central station. John’s Deli is one of the brightest lights of the Copenhagen hotdog scene, with John apparently one of the most adventurous experimenters in the hotdog industry – while he’ll do all the standards, he’ll also offer seasonal specials like the “Jule/Christmas Hotdog” we saw on offer. We went for something plain and simple though – another French hotdog.
With 40 Danish kroner left in my wallet as we waited at Copenhagen airport for our flight to Alesund in Norway, we thought we might as well have one last hotdog to use up our Danish currency. We found a Steff Houlberg hotdog stand in one of the terminals and ordered the ‘big and spicy hotdog’ which was essentially a fat chorizo-style sausage served in a hotdog. It still used the same small bun, and had the same toppings, but with a different sausage. This was actually quite delicious and juicy – I got surprised with my first bite into the hotdog as spicy sausage juices spurted everywhere!
So there you have it – six different hotdogs in Copenhagen. It really is a Danish tradition, so I encourage you to have a hotdog (or six!) if you visit Copenhagen – you can go to almost any hotdog stand and get a pretty delicious dog to eat. If you can’t wait until you get into the city, you can even have a hotdog as soon as you land at the airport – there’s a stand at the baggage carousel area as well, so have a hotdog as you wait for your luggage to come out!