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How to cook hot dogs; discovering hiyashi chuka

Some colleagues have been debating the best way to cook hot dogs. I haven't thought much about this, but they obviously have. To summarize: Boiling: Very bad. Uck. Flavour drains away.

Some colleagues have been debating the best way to cook hot dogs. I haven't thought much about this, but they obviously have. To summarize:

Boiling: Very bad. Uck. Flavour drains away. The water gets unpleasant, and your hot dog is sitting in that water.

Steaming: Quite possibly the best way. Good flavour retention. Can be a modest hassle, since you need to set up a steamer basket.

Frying: Really brings out the flavour. Heightens the saltiness. Splatter hazard.

Deep frying: Have seen it on TV, but haven't tried it yet. Must be good. They're doing it on TV.

In the oven (not microwave): An OK approach, though it's heating up a lot of space for a few wieners.

Microwave: Not discussed. This strikes me as a bad idea. I've never tried it, but I can imagine the exploding, and the wieners coming out with shrivelled hot spots next to lukewarm spots.

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I discovered hiyashi chuka this weekend at Fujiya, the Japanese grocery store on Shelbourne in Saanich. It's a summer dish, various spots on the web say. In Japan, it's dropped from menus once cold weather arrives. So, naturally, I bought hiyashi chuka on a cold, drizzly Victoria day.

The Fujiya version is cold ramen topped with slivers of cucumber (the dominant element), egg, imitation crab, a few mini-shrimp, green onion, seaweed, and sesame seeds. It came with a pouch filled with a mix of soya sauce, sugar and vinegar. You pour on the sauce, and you eat. It was OK. A little bland. A little heavy on the cucumber. But the cold noodles were surprisingly good.

Some of the versions I found on the Internet are more ambitious. One version was topped with grilled pork and prawns. It is, I gather, basically a cold noodles dish topped with whatever you have on hand. Getting the noodles right is the priority. (The instant ramen noodles aren't suitable, one recipe says.)

Hiyashi chuka, from Fujiya, for $4.35.

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We bought a Fujiya tuna roll that was a little unpleasant. They used tuna that had tough strands in it. Fujiya's stuff is usually quite good.

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TV chef Paula Deen cooks cheesecake in a deep fryer. She tops a frozen bar of cheesecake with chocolate chunks, wraps it in a big wonton-style wrapper, deep fries briefly, rolls it in powdered sugar, squirts on two glazes, and tops it with whipped cream. It looks OK. Might even be tasty. The person who has posted the video has snide things to say. In the comments, some folks are defending the dish. It's OK as a once-in-a-while indulgence, they say.

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There's plenty of fine entertainment over at myfoodlooksfunny.com

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