I will be the first to admit that I had a West Side bias when I made the move to Pasadena. I figured I would spend a whole lot of time on that side of town for meals out, but over and over again Pasadena has impressed me. Perhaps most impressive of all is the pizza scene, with The Luggage Room and Pizza of Venice already tackled by yours truly, I finally set my sights on Pie Life Pizza.
Right around the time that Coney Dog was hitting LA straight out of Detroit, Papaya King was also making its way to the West Coast by way of some other city called New York. Never heard of it. Billboards glowed with the words “Papaya King,” yet this native Detroiter largely ignored the hot dogs of New York in favor of those from his native land. But when a Blackboard Eats discount for 30% off came around, Papaya King could no longer be ignored. I gathered a couple hot dog-loving friends and hit the road for Hollywood.
The first thing that should be made clear about Papaya King is that there are absolutely no papayas in the hot dogs. Yes, this is a little disappointing, but there is still very good reason for the name of the place. It is actually named for the papaya juice served there, which predated the hot dogs at the original New York location. That papaya juice is still important, but not nearly as much as the hot dogs.