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The Nuclear Option

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Over my years of living in the Philippines I have adjusted to many new and different things.  Almost everything in life is a bit different here, but on almost everything, even when it’s been difficult, I have made the adjustment.

I’ve adjusted to different types of foods.

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I’ve adjusted to a totally different style of driving.

I’ve adjusted to hot weather.

I’ve adjusted to the fact that there are a lot of different kinds of smells here, and many of them not so good.

There is, though, at least one adjustment that I just can’t make, and I refuse to make.  I can’t adjust to the Nuclear Option.

I ain’t gonna be eating them neon-red hot dogs!  The things practically glow like they come out of a nuclear plant!  Homer Simpson would probably hoard the things!

Have you ever seen a real Philippine Hot Dog? Well, let me say this, if you have ever been within 50 feet of one, I am sure you have seen it, because they glow like a neon sign on the Las Vegas Strip, or maybe in Times Square in New York.  I mean, these Philippine Hot Dogs are serious!  They could probably solve a good part of the world’s energy problems if they could figure out a way to harness the power in those hot dogs!

I remember the first time that I encountered those red hot dogs.  It was actually in the States.  Although I had been to the Philippines many times, I had never had a hot dog here.  But, back in 1998 or 1999, Feyma and I visited a Filipino Grocery Store in Portland, OR, not far from our house there.  They had hot dogs from the Philippines.  I looked at them and thought they looked rather strange, but Feyma wanted to buy them for the kids.  At the time, we just had two boys.

When we got home with these Filipino Neon Dogsoops, I mean hot dogs….  Feyma cooked them.  She put them in water and boiled them.  Hmm.. when she finished cooking them the water was bright red, but the hot dogs were still glowing too, so I suppose all was good (so to speak)!

Our young sons, aged 7 and 2 or so at that time took one look at the hot dogs and refused to eat them!  As I recall, I think our 2 year old started crying! But, Feyma told the kids that because it was almost Christmas, these were special Christmas Hot Dogs, and that is why they were bright red!  Maybe they were reindeer dogs, I don’t know, the color might have had something to do with Rudolf’s nose!  But, the kids went ahead and tried them. Still, the taste did not win over any fans in our house.  I didn’t even try them, the color alone was good enough to turn me away.

Now, though, our kids love to eat the red hot dogs of the Philippines.  I still don’t eat them, I don’t think I’ve ever tried them, as I recall.  But, the kids love them.  We have several sources of “regular” hot dogs here in Davao, and if I have a hankering for a hot dog, I go with one of them, usually from a European Deli that we frequent, the Swiss Deli in Damosa, Davao City.  The kids will generally eat either color – the Filipino red or the tan brown color of the European dogs.

In almost every mall that I have ever been in here, there is a kiosk outlet called “Hot Dog on a Stick”.  I used to think it was a Filipino business, but in researching for this article I found that it is actually a US company, but they also have outlets here in the Philippines.  Anyway, I have seen this place in virtually every mall I have ever visited, but in the past I have only seen the neon red dogs there.  A few months ago, though, I started seeing more “regular” colored dogs at these stands too.  I never tried one, though.

On Saturday, Feyma and I were out at the mall doing some shopping.  We were passing by the Hot Dog on a Stick stand, and I happened to notice that they had a corn dog there.  I remarked to Feyma that I don’t recall ever seeing a corn dog in the Philippines before.  We went on about our shopping, we still had a couple of places to go.  When we were about ready to leave, Feyma asked me if I wanted to get a corn dog and try it.  I was a bit hesitant, but we went back to the Hot Dog on a Stick.  I asked the girl working there…

What color is the hot dog inside that corn dog?

She kind of laughed a bit and assured me that it was one of the brown colored dogs inside.  The corn dog did look good, so I relented.  OK, I told her to give me one corn dog.  She replied to me….

Sir, we have Johnsonville Bratwurst!

Hmm… this reminded me of a blog post that my friend Dave posted a few months ago, which was entitled “Filipinos don’t like that brand“. Dave related in that article how a similar incident had happened to him.  He visited a hot dog kiosk (probably the same company) and the employees went out of their way to tell him that they had Johnsonville Bratwurst.

For those readers who don’t know what a Johnsonville Bratwurst is, Johnsonville is an American company who makes a very good bratwurst sausage.  I guess it is probably the most popular bratwurst in the USA.

Well, this all got me thinking.  These employees at Hot Dog on a Stick must be trained to promote the Johnsonville Brats whenever a foreigner passes by!  Why else would we experience the same thing, even though we are hundreds of miles apart?

The girl showed me the Johnsonville spinning on the hot dog heater.  It looked good, although it was pretty small.  I guess it would be a “junior” Jonsonville, because I’ve never seen one that small before.  I mean, it was like half the size of a hot dog!  Usually those Johnsonvilles are like 2 to 3 times the size of a hot dog.  I told the girl, OK, I would try one.  Then, though, I saw the price!  It was P75 (about $1.67) for the Johnsonville.  The corn dog was only P40, and it was double the size, not including the corn batter.  I quickly canceled my order for the Johnsonville.  I decided that if I had lived ten years without one, I could probably make it a bit longer!

Truth is, at Swiss Deli, the place I mentioned where we can buy “regular colored” hot dogs, they also have great sausages of all kinds, so it’s not like I’m missing bratwurst anyway.

Oh, the corn dog? Yeah, I bought it and brought it home to try.  I took two bites of it and gave it to one of my kids.  Just didn’t taste good to me.  The dog, indeed, was not red.  It was all mushy, though, and just didn’t satisfy me.  My son liked it, though, it seems.

If the brown dog at Hot Dog on a Stick was not to my liking… I’m staying away from the glow in the dark red ones!

Bob Martin

Bob Martin is the Publisher & Editor in Chief of the Live in the Philippines Web Magazine. Bob is an Internet Entrepreneur. Bob is an American who lived in Mindanao from 2000 until 2019. Bob has now relocated back to the USA.

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brian
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brian

Used to eat em…saw a show on cable “Hows it Made” and it featured hotdogs…I vowed at the end of the 15 minute show I would never eat another hotdog…EVER !! It was disturbing to say the least!

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi brian – Ha ha… you’re watching too much TV! 😆

Dave Starr
Guest

Je weniger die Leute darüber wissen, wie Würste und Gesetze gemacht werden, desto besser schlafen sie nachts. * The less the people know about how sausages and laws are made, the better they sleep in the night. Famously attributed to Otto von Bismark, Germany’s Iron Chancellor. A similar English version is also widely attributed to Benjamin Disraeli, two-time British Prime Minister, but the earliest known quote regarding laws and sausages, is attributed to John Godfrey Saxe, an American poet, in The Daily Cleveland Herald (29 March 1869). Doesn’t mater to me who originally said it, I don’t like discussing politics… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Dave – I figured it was Hot Dog on a Stick that got you on those Johnsonvilles. As soon as they offered them to me, I told Feyma about your article! 😆

Paul Thompson
Member

Bob;
Red dye #5 hot dogs are what we called them up here in the Subic Area. As with you I’ll give them a pass. My granddaughter likes our type of hot dogs (we have some great european deli’s here also) and she loves Kielbasa on a bun (no mustard, I’m still working on that). A good hot dog is a thing of pleasure, and if anyone who wants to tell me what they are made of, I’ll smile and ask for another.

Bill B
Guest
Bill B

Paul,
As to what they are made of, well I don’t care either. If it tast good i’ll eat it and I have seen that show on the Hot Dogs. I think if everyone knew how all their food was made they would starve.

Paul Thompson
Member

Bill;
I agree with you, 50,000,000 Baseball fans can’t be wrong, and they like Hot Dogs (just not the Red Dye #5’s)

Bob New York
Guest
Bob New York

Red dye ” Number 5 ” I wonder if that is any relation to the Soup ” Number 5 ” Bob showed us a sample of here on ” LIP ” a while back ? LOL

MindanaoBob
Guest

You might be on to something there, Bob! Soup #5.. knowing the ingredients… then thinking about the shape of the hot dogs! Hmm… 😉

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Paul – I just thought up last week that those red dogs are the nukes of the Philippines, I’m sticking with my new nickname of them! Ha ha… I do enjoy a hot dog from time to time…. just not one that glows in the dark! 😉

Paul Thompson
Member

Bob;
Next time there is a concert or sporting event in town, sell those dogs as glow sticks vice the chemical ones. Money to be made there. Hmm… Maybe I’ll do that up here.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Interesting thought, Paul! Those nuke dogs are dual purpose… use as a glow stick, and eat them if you are too hungry! Perfect!

hudson
Guest
hudson

Can you use them to go fishin?? lol

MindanaoBob
Guest

They may work as bobbers, hudson!

Mark G
Guest
Mark G

I’m with you Paul! A good all beef, possibly Kosher, Hot Dog with a bit of spicy brown stadium mustard! Meal fit for a King!

steve
Guest
steve

Paul,
What about the catsup, mayo, mustard, onions, relish, chili and sour krout??? Now that a real dog! 🙂

MindanaoBob
Guest

Mayo on a dog? I am not sure I can stand for that, Steve! 😉

Heinz Schirmaier
Guest
Heinz Schirmaier

Hi Paul. I started a Events food vending business in 1992 featuring Brats made by a company in Seattle who would virtually make ANY flavor Brat for me. Garlic Brat, Onion Brat, etc. They even made a Craisin (Cranberry Raisin) Brat for me for one of the Cranberry Festivals on the Washington Coast. But I digress. Best sellers were the Chicago Dog, 100% BEEF, 2nd. was the Polish Kielbasa, (pork). 3rd. was and still is a standard 4/1 ratio Hot Dog purchased at Cash & Carry made from Pork, Chicken and Beef. No mystery meats in those dogs and people… Read more »

Bill B
Guest
Bill B

Hey Bob, I feel the same way about the so called hot dogs here in the RP. I’m still looking for a good tasting dog. I just don’t like how mushy they are on the inside. I have tried the Johnsonville Brats and they were good.

Maybe we can work together and find a way to solve the brown-out problem with the Red Nuks! hehe

MindanaoBob
Guest

Ah, Bill… now that you mention the word “mushy” I recall that I have tasted them before. Never straight, but mixed in with Filipino Spaghetti! Yes, they are way too mushy, and it really turns me off!

I do suspect that the brownout situation could potentially be solved with the dye in those dogs!

Anton
Guest
Anton

BoB , i understand , that you not like to eat them for just the color. I allso , but being a chef , i had to try them . Just one bite was enough ! And when i was younger i worked on cruise ships all over the world , but never saw sausage so ” not tasty ” looking . And i eat allmost everything what local people eat . And yes , there are so many kind of sausages , tasty , good looking , big , mostly eat them with mustard . But even then the… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Good morning, Anton! I am in full agreement with you, my friend! Being a chef, I am sure that you are on to the right way of thinking!

John Reyes
Guest

Hi, Anton:

Something tells me that you worked as a Chef for Holland American Line in your younger days. Am I right?

Bob, the title of your article sure blind-sided me. I thought you were discussing what Bernard Lewis likes to talk about. Hahaha Right now, I couldn’t think about food, nuclear dog or whatever. having just had a delicious Filipino lunch at the Manila Oriental. 🙂

MindanaoBob
Guest

I always like to shake up people with the titles, John, and keep them guessing! 😉

Clay
Guest
Clay

Haha , I think every grocery store in the USA sells those bright red dogs, you just have to look in the poor mans corner of the cooler or the reduced price items. Ha ha I have bought those a few times in the past, hard to see the dogs in the pot for all the red water. The couple of time’s i did buy these red dog’s i noticed that very few were eaten unless someone had a few to many to drink , then of course no type of food is safe. ha ha Reminds me of a… Read more »

Anton
Guest
Anton

Clay , here in The Netherlands , you not find them in a { what you call }
poor mans corner ! We have NO CORNERS like that here .
Realy poor people can go to foodbanks , and get food for free , but that is
not Haha !
But they have no red dogs .
For that , you go to TOKO [ Asian shop ] and they are realy expensive !
Gr. Anton

MindanaoBob
Guest

Wow, I never saw those in the USA, Clay! I must not have ventured into the “poor man’s corner” often enough! Well, I did see them at the Filipino Stores in the USA, though!

Kevin
Guest

Many of the dyes used in food, especially red dyes, are not good for young kids. I would not eat or would I let anyone in my family eat those red hot dogs. I agree with Brian–what’s a hot dog really made of? – you probably don’t want to know.

http://current.com/news/92521157_group-urges-the-banning-of-3-common-food-dyes-red-40-yellow-5-yellow-6.htm

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/109838.php

MindanaoBob
Guest

You are a wise man, Kevin!

AmericanLola
Guest
AmericanLola

Ha! Good article! Nope! I have not and will not eat one of those neon hot dogs! I was a ‘once a year, at the beach’ hot dog eater to begin with, and the nuclear numbers here put a stop to hot dog consumption. If they are so not good for you in the USA, what could be in them here?

MindanaoBob
Guest

Maayong buntag, AmericanLola! Glad that you enjoyed the article…. stay away from those nuclear dogs! I don’t want to have to come to your funeral! 😉

raphael
Guest
raphael

guys you’re talking too much … almost all filipinos eat “red” hot dogs…. you won’t die eating them… even previous Presidents of the Philippines eat those… move on guys.. 🙂

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi raphael – We are free to discuss the topic as long as we wish. No offense is intended.

ProfDon
Guest
ProfDon

Look at the life expectancy rates of Filipinos and go to the cemetaries and notice all the graves for young people. Maybe nuclear dogs? As for the effects of eating nuclear dogs on Philippine presidents, even I won’t touch that one.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Ha ha…. the Presidents…. good thinking, Don!

maynard
Guest
maynard

Its funny how you wrote this article Bob,i have yet to find a good hot dog here.I sure would like to find an.. armour,or oscar meyer,ball park are ok to.A good italian sausage would be good to.Now i make my own sausage here even though its loose its far better than what i find in the stores.ALL i do is buy ground pork and add the proper spices and wala,got it.I also have tracked down meat sauce receipes from the states just incase i find a good hot dog here.It seems to me they put alot of sugar in meats… Read more »

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Maynard – We can get some good hot dogs and sausages down here from several different European Deli type places. You are in Cebu, right? Surprised you can not find them up there.

maynard
Guest
maynard

Ive tried several differant kinds here Bob ,i just cant find the right one yet.I would love to find a good tasteing one.Yes im in Cebu Bob ,the closest deli i found was in AYALA mall ,maybe im just to fussy .

MindanaoBob
Guest

Keep an eye out, maynard.. I’m sure you’ll find something that you like!

Bill B
Guest
Bill B

Here is the Wikipedia site on Hot Dogs if anyone would like to read about them. They also talk about the Red Nuke Dogs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hot_dog

Neal in RI
Guest
Neal in RI

Hey Bob
“Im Back”
I been cooking for myself alot lately and in fact I went thru 8 BallPark Franks in the past week.
More to read about why on your Blog Site.

MindanaoBob
Guest

Hi Neal – Just checked the forum.. terrible news! I’ll be praying for your wife’s recovery.

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