Danes will always find an occasion to have a pølser (sausage)- as a quick lunch, after a late night out, or during a ferry ride to one of the islands. This goes to say that hot dogs are served during numerous occasions, whether it’s during the Easter day celebrations, or even in the late hours of a wedding party- as a way to signal to the guests that it’s time to leave soon.
So what’s the big deal about the Danish pølser? Denmark is filled with pølsevogen (hot dog wagons), which are typically taken out and pulled by pølsemænd (hot dog men) daily, from their homes to their selling point. Although it seems like a daily nightmare and a chore, Danes prefer the mobile stands to permanent selling points/huts, due to years of cultural heritage.
Fun fact: the yearly award ceremony for the Best Hot Dog takes place at the Food Festival in Aarhus…so yes making pølser is a serious business in Denmark. Next year’s festival will take place in September 2019.
The two main types of hot dog sausage are the røde pølser (red sausage), and the brown grillpølser (grilled sausage). The more popular one is the the rød pølse, which gained popularity in the 1920s, when vendors could not sell sausages that were about to go bad, and instead dipped them into red dye and sold them for a cheaper price.
The sausage is grilled and usually extends over the edges of the hot dog bun. Typically it is garnished with raw onions, fried onions, round sliced pickles, mustard, ketchup and Danish remoulade (a type of sauce). There are about 100 million hot dogs sold in Denmark each year and bear in mind that Denmark’s population is 5.5 million!
If you happen to be flying to Copenhagen, as soon as you enter the terminal building you will be overflown by the impeccable hot dog smell. Yes, the pølsevogne journey starts there. However, if you can wait until you reach the center of Copenhagen, you will find pølsevogne all over the city.
If you are looking for a more “healthy” option, you can find an organic hot dog at the Døp, Den Økologiske Pølsemand. This hot dog stand flourished eight years ago and sells only organic ingredients. You can find two Døp stands, one at the Round Tower and the other at the Church of the Holy Spirit.
If you’d like to try something more old school, then head to Harry’s Place dating back to 1965 in the Nørrebro district. In the 80s, the former Danish prime minister and his wife used to be frequent customers of this hot dog place.
In case you prefer to sit down and enjoy your hot dog, John’s Hot Dog Deli is the place to be. Note: it is the only hot dog deli in Copenhagen, in the well-known Meatpacking district.
For the real gourmets out there, you can find a more elaborate menu of hot dogs at the Pølse Kompagniet (the sausage company). Here you have the possibility to order a Danish hot dog with a French, Italian and Moroccan culinary influence.
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