We followed the map app into a quaint and quiet residential neighborhood of Jiangnanxi in Haizhu district on a warm Monday evening.
Twisting and turning down narrow pedestrian laneways, we walked past trendy boutique dress shops and cat cafes until we saw the telltale flowers and banners of a grand opening.
Blue Collar Hot Dog celebrated its grand opening on Sunday, September 12. The patio was still sprinkled with confetti and a wilting cabbage hung from the door handle – a Chinese tradition for summoning good fortune.
The Grand Opening was held on September 12. Image via Blue Collar Hot Dog
The windows are adorned with aggressively masculine hot dogs wearing blue hard hats and flaunting chiseled abs. The space is tiny but can comfortably seat 12 people with a few more chairs outside.
The menu offers six choices that are so diverse in their accouterment that it feels shameful to lump them into the category of hot dogs.
The only similarity between them is the hot dog bun in which they are served. Four of the options have sausages, all different styles and flavors to complement their toppings. The remaining two are Chinese pulled pork on a bed of ‘chicken fat mashed potatoes,’ or meatballs in a barbecue tomato sauce, both rammed into the bread that qualifies it as a hot dog.
We started with the grillmaster’s recommendation – their Japanese hot dog. In this case, a cheddar cheese sausage is coated in breadcrumbs before being deep-fried. A generous slathering of Japanese mustard and tarter sauce smothers the hot sausage and seaweed, and sesame seeds sprinkled atop make it a recognizably Japan-themed snack. The prices listed on the menu include a side of fries. (Although you can ditch the fries and save RMB6.)
The sausage is hot and juicy and the sauces are balanced and flavorful. It’s delicious, but we learn quickly that once the first bite is taken, there is no stopping until all six or so inches have been shoved into your face.
As far as drinks go, Blue Collar Hot Dog is the brainchild of Guangzhou cocktail master Jackwing Yao.
Blue Collar lives up to its name in the simplicity of the concept. Despite a deep love of cocktails, sometimes we need a quicker and easier road to the bottom of a glass – Yao found the answer in ‘hot dogs and highballs.’
Beside the door is a self-serve fountain pop dispenser with a sign on the front: 3-hour Free Flow for RMB99.
The grillmaster opens the front of the machine to reveal tubes into bottles of Jim Beam bourbon, Suntory plum wine and a blackcurrant liqueur. A tall plastic cup with sturdy bartender-approved ice cubes is provided, and guests can push a button and watch as a steady stream of alcohol is pumped into their drink with soda.
Our first thought is how many highballs can one drink in three hours? Determined to find out, the next question arises. Where is the bathroom?
Surely a restaurant of this modest stature doesn’t have its own bathroom. Our host points to a low rounded door – we mean Bilbo Baggins low; it’s no more than 1.3 meters. The room is fully equipped with the necessary facilities to accommodate three hours of whiskey sodas through an Alice in Wonderland-style portal.
The bathroom door at Blue Collar is precariously small like a Hobbit’s home (right). Image via That's and Wikimedia
After a couple of bourbon sodas, we opt to try the classic dog. Despite looking like a ballpark hot dog, the gourmet elevation lies underneath.
A homemade sauce of pickles and mustard seed gives it a delicate sourness. Cheddar cheese and fried shallot provide a hearty richness while the ketchup and mustard bring back childhood memories. The sausage itself is a thick Frankfurter that, once again, holds up to the restaurant’s motto: Juicy for you!
The Classic (left), Chipotle (middle) and Japanese (right) hot dogs are on offer. Image via Blue Collar
The restaurant is just a short walk from Jiangnanxi station on Line 2. If you’re in the area, check it out.
If you’re pregaming for a night on the town, then fill your belly with sausages and bread. Or, if you just want a home-away-from-home tailgate party while you watch the NFL highlights from the day before on your phone, then we recommend Blue Collar Hot Dog. You just can’t beat a RMB99 free flow, and lids are available to take the last cup to go.
Image via That’s
Who’s going: wiener lovers, highball hitmen
Good for: hot dogs and drinking
Nearest metro: Jiangnanxi (exit B), 3 minutes
Open daily, 12-9pm, see listing for Blue Collar Hot Dog.
[Cover image via Blue Collar Hot Dog]