The Best Hotdogs in Manila
So remember a few months ago, when we said we couldn’t figure out if hotdogs should be considered sausages? Well, the jury’s still out on that—the Internet is a vast well of information, and it can’t seem to get along on a lot of things, the one true definition of a hotdog included. Some sources say that hotdogs are merely sausages placed in a roll of bread, others say it’s the American version of the sausage, and still others say that it is a type of sausage with a different texture.
What we know for sure is that hotdogs are delicious, and it is a famous snack all over the world for good reason. The idea of putting steamed or smoked meat in a bun and serving it with a variety of toppings is simple, yet effective. It’s so simple, that we all have different preferences for what makes a great dog. Here’s a list of our favorites, what we think are the best hotdogs in Manila.
1| Pink’s Hotdogs
When this famous hotdog joint came to Manila three years ago, it started with one kind of hotdog—the world-famous Chili Cheese Dog. Second-generation owners Richard and Gloria Pink entrusted their concept to Wildflour’s Walter Manzke, who promised he will recreate Pink’s signature hotdog and chili exactly the way they do it in the U.S. While the ingredients are imported, the hotdogs are made on site to ensure freshness. Served hot, overflowing with chili and mustard, and with a fluffy, buttery bun from Wildflour, the Filipino version of Pink’s is in a class of its own. Today, Pink’s Philippines has two more branches, with a menu that boasts of a wide variety of hotdogs, burgers, and sandwiches. Not bad for the first country outside the U.S. to host Pink’s.
- The Hollywood Legend
- Don’t Mess with Texas
- Tokyo Dog
Shangri-La at the Fort, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; Okada Manila, Parañaque; City of Dreams, Entertainment City, Parañaque
2| Schmidt's Gourmet Hotdogs
Schmidt’s offers hotdog sandwiches that are inspired by different cultures, such as American, Japanese, and Korean. With its new spin on an old staple, Schmidt’s has attracted many an adventurous eater. In 2013, Schmidt’s won the sixth spot in Rockwell’s Ultimate Taste Test, main dish category. The fan-favorite flavor? The Wagamama, a Japanese-inspired hotdog slathered with curry, cabbage, shredded nori, and the diner’s choice of wasabi or mayo. The unusual combination of hotdog and curry topped with the umami of nori makes for an interesting bite.
- Coney Island
StrEAT: Maginhawa Food Park and UP Town Center, both in Quezon City
3| Three Guys and a Grill
This Poblacion hangout run by Tom Thurnherr, Duncan Gates, and Pepper Teehankee is famous for its custom European-style sausages and locally sourced bread. Three Guys and a Grill is focused on what makes a hotdog sandwich what it is, serving great bread and great sausage. All the meats are grilled, then seasoned once it hits the flame. The bread is delivered 90-percent baked and then finishes baking on location to ensure freshness. The toppings are proudly Philippine-made, with ingredients from all over—honey from Mt. Apo, molasses from Bicol, and more. Today, its success in Pob has enabled it to expand all over the metro and also outside Manila, with locations in Laguna and Cebu. They hope to expand internationally, as well, eyeing a Bali joint by the end of the year.
- Posh Dog
- The Anghang
- Bird Dog
4| Nathan’s Famous
This iconic New York staple made its way to Manila in the summer of 2017, when the familiar yellow food truck suddenly appeared in the middle of BGC High Street. With a century’s worth of experience, it’s no surprise that each Nathan’s Famous hotdog lives up to the hype. The Chili Cheese Dog looks simple, with a thin layer of cheese sauce resting above the homemade chili and dog, but the taste contains that perfect balance of heat and salt that we all look for in a good hotdog sandwich.
- Chili Cheese Dog
- Bacon Cheese Dog
- Jalapeno Cheese Dog
Vertis North, Quezon City. Nathan's Famous food truck is currently located at ATC Corporate Center in Alabang, where it will reportedly stay until December 2019.
S&R is famous for its 100-percent, all-beef hotdog, served mildly toasty and steaming hot, thanks to the foil wrapped around the sesame-seed bun. It also gets raves for its satisfying dog to bun ratio. Thick and meaty, the S&R dog makes up around half of the sandwich, which is definitely value for money. The fun part comes in S&R’s condiment station, which lets customers fill up on as many toppings as they want—relish, onions, mustard, and all. There’s nothing like being given free rein to make your hotdog the best it can possibly be.
- 100% All Beef Hotdog
- Hotdog with Bacon and Cheese
It’s hard not to compare Landers hotdogs to S&R's for obvious reasons, but its offerings more than hold their own. The Beef Jalapeno and Cheese Hotdog is a notable favorite, because of the mix of savory, salty heat that comes in every juicy bite. Landers Central offers its dogs solo or in a combo with soda and its thick, criss-cut fries. On sale days, you might even get lucky and get more bang for your buck—all its dogs were on a Buy One, Take One deal last June.
- Beef Jalapeno and Cheese
- Salisbury Turkey Franks
7| Elbert’s Diner
Brothers Elbert and Adrian Cuenca have always taken their sandwiches seriously, constantly experimenting to get the perfect handful. Their dogs are encased in white bread that doesn’t easily get soggy, while the sausages used are Big City Reds skinless wieners from Sheboygan, Wisconsin, a German immigrant town considered as “the sausage capital of the world.” They’re particularly proud of their Chili Dog, a spicy concoction made hot by its topping made from ancho chili powder sourced from the U.S.
- Chili Dog
- New York Style
- Chicago Style
Power Plant Mall, Rockwell, Makati
8| Wicked Dogs
Wicked Dogs is known for its solid range of specialty dogs, consisting of a variety of unusual hotdog sandwiches served with flair in a bun made of French bread. Expect a unique looking sandwich (the Tijuana bacon dog, for example, is covered with a fried egg) and chock-full of toppings that cover the smoky, tender meat. Its current location also includes a bar, which was a feature that wasn’t available in the now defunct BF Parañaque branch. Hotdogs with beer, anyone?
- Tijuana Bacon Dog
- Chili Cheese Dog
- Johnny Sins’ Everything on It Dog
2/F Lokal Hostel, Ebro Street, Poblacion Makati
9| Shake Shack
Many people have forgotten than Shake Shack actually began as a humble hotdog cart in New York. Founder Danny Meyer was consumed by a desire to find the perfect hotdog. It led him to Vienna Beef, which still supplies the company's hotdogs today, assuring that every hotdog is beefy, juicy, flavorful, with just the right snappiness.
- Shack-Cago Dog
- Hot Dog
Central Square, Bonifacio High Street Central, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig