The Unvegan

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The Oki Dog of Destiny

Doesn’t look like much…

From the moment my buddy told me about Oki Dog months ago, I knew that this incredible hot dog concoction would make its way into my belly. After months of driving by the sketchy part of the west side (so close to West Hollywood, yet a world away) in which Oki Dog resides, I finally got my opportunity to consume this behemoth. It happened on one fateful night when an old pal of mine decided he was going to eat his way through Jonathan Gold’s 99 Things to Eat in LA Before You Die. Eating through that list is likely to cause death anyway, especially if it is populated by foods like Oki Dog.


When I arrived at the stand, I was surprised to find that their specialty and namesake, the Oki Dog was a measly $3.75. This price wouldn’t be so great for an ordinary hot dog, but this was no ordinary hot dog. This hot dog, thought up by crazy Okinawans like those that run the place (hence “Oki”), takes two hot dogs, tops them with pastrami, chili and cheese, then wraps up the neat little package in a tortilla. Surely, no mere bun could possibly contain the awesomeness. According to Gold, the Oki Dog also comes with cabbage, which is a lie. You could order it with cabbage if you want, but no real unvegan would ever have a semblance of desire for such a thing. Without a vegetable to order without, this dog had the makings of unvegan legend. All it had to do was pass the taste test.

Welcome to the party, pastrami.

And pass it did. With flying colors. It is delivered in a neat little package, without a hint of the meaty delights that reside within those flaps. The first bite is a bit of mystery, because with so many flavors, you really have no idea what you will get a bite of. Mystery or not, that first bite was fantastic. No pastrami, but a great bit of hot dog, chili and cheese. It was a few more bites before I reached the pastrami/achieved nirvana.

Part of the beauty of this dog is a little thing called synergy. In layman’s terms, the hot dogs, chili, cheese and pastrami on their own would likely be tasty, but not special. When combined, however, they become something far greater. Was Aristotle thinking of Oki Dog when he said, “The whole is more than the sum of its parts”? If he wasn’t, I sure as hell have no idea what he was talking about.

With so many awesome flavors, there is always a risk that something will get lost in the shuffle or that the food will become overwhelming. For Oki Dog, this was not the case. These flavors mixed with each other so well that by the time I finished eating, I was already thinking about the next time I would meet this meal.

I might have a run-in with a defibrillator before that occasion arrives, but it will be worth it.