A few weeks before heading to Waikiki we watched an Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations which happened to be about Hawaii. While he was visiting Waikiki he stumbled across a little place called Puka Dog (pronounced poo-ka not puke-a) which serves Hawaiian style hot dogs. My daughter and I are huge fans of meat in tube form and I knew we had to try this place. Yes, our German blood is strong!
Once at our hotel in Waikiki one of the first things I did was find the address for Puka Dog and try to locate it on the map. This was high on my list of things to do in Waikiki on this trip. My wife Kerri, on the other hand, was not impressed with the idea of wasting valuable vacation time in the pursuit of processed meat in a bun. I tried to assure her that this would be worth it, but she wasn’t buying it.
A couple of days after arriving it was around dinner time and we happened to find ourselves near Puka Dog. Coincidence? I think not! We made our way over to the little whole in the wall shop and ordered three Puka dogs with fresh squeezed lemonades. They actually squeeze the lemon right in front of you. It’s fresh! When ordering a Puka Dog you first choose either a skinless polish sausage or the vegetarian dog and then choose the secret lemon garlic sauce, choice of a fruity relish, and Hawaiian mustard. The “bun” is basically a small loaf of bread with a hole in one end. They have special toaster prongs that the bun goes over to toast the bread on the inside while leaving the outside soft. After toasting, the sauces you ordered are squirted into the bun and the sausage is dropped into the hole and then topped off with some more sauces. It is one of the most unique hot dogs we had ever seen and the assembly process was fascinating. Yes, we are easily amused.
We really enjoyed that night’s dinner, including Kerri, and found ourselves back there for another one a few days later. If you find yourself in Waikiki and enjoy a good sausage dog, you will love this place! And I highly recommend the mango relish, spicy jalapeno sauce, and lilikoi mustard. This really is the world’s greatest hot dog!
UPDATE: I just got an email from Puka Dog saying that the name of their Waikiki store is going to be changed to Hula Dog starting tomorrow. I bet too many people were calling it “Puke-a-dog” and it would make sense to change the name. Would you want to eat something with the word “puke” in it?