Hot Dogs Abroad: Drei Im Weggla

Food Republic Associate Editor Jess Kapadia is currently reporting live from Germany as her role has shifted to FR's official Christkindlmarkts and Teutonic tube steak correspondent. You can follow the action here and especially on the Lufthansa Markt Blog.

I conceded in my last Lufthansa Markt post that gingerbread in Nuremberg is akin to bagels in New York. They're just that serious about it. We obsess over our water, they obsess over their honey. We grudgingly ship them worldwide, they happily ship them worldwide, and so forth. But today for lunch, I discovered a new tie between the city I'm in, and the city I'm from: The hot dog. Or, I should say hot dogs.

Nürnberger Rostbratwurst, aka "Drei im Weggla," begs the question: Why would you ever only have ein im weggla? Three in a bun, as they're known, can be found at every bratwurst stand in the city. I like the way these good folks think.

Nuremberg's signature pork sausage, spiced with garlic, peppercorns and marjoram, recently joined the ranks of France's A.O.C. Burgundy and Italy's D.O.C. Parmaggiano-Reggiano, earning the European Union's highest cultural food honor: Protected Geographical Indication. These pups can only be made in this city. There's even an Association for the Protection of Nürnberger Rostbratwürst — the rost referring to how it's grilled above grates rather than griddled, resulting in a slightly charred, crunchy skin. You gotta protect that stuff.

So you saunter up to the warm, sausage-scented counter, an oasis in the chilly German winter, and hold up one finger (because the last time you made it all the way to "ein..." you realized that was the only word in the sentence you knew). Then you gratefully receive a bun that's perfectly crisp on the outside and dense, chewy and yeasty on the inside, housing three smoky, brown sausages. Finally, you dispense an appropriate amount of sharp yellow mustard from the enormous porcelain pot of it next to an intimidatingly short stack of napkins and shove the thing in your face.

But Jess, aren't you a devoted worshiper of New York's dirty water dog? Yes I am, and I'm glad you asked. There is a place for a mild beef frank, gilded with spicy brown mustard and shreds of comparatively weak kraut, served in a squishy white bun that came 12 to a pack and definitely wasn't baked anytime recently. This isn't it.