Wacky Canadians now have their own hot dog rules

Illustration for article titled Wacky Canadians now have their own hot dog rules
Photo: George De Sota, Theo Wargo, Nicholas Hunt, Frazer Harrison, Jason Merritt/TERM, Oleksii Liskonih (Getty Images)

Canadians! They’re so wacky, what with their universal health care and tolerant society. They have a reputation for being so nice! (Famous joke: Why don’t Canadians have group sex? Too many thank-you notes to write afterward.) As someone who grew up in Toronto, I can attest to many of these stereotypes. What I didn’t know was that Canadians apparently had a set of hot dog rules.

Illustration for article titled Wacky Canadians now have their own hot dog rules
Photo: Irina_Qiwi (iStock)

Sure, some would say that Canadians don’t actually have hot dog rules, and that this set of “Canadian Hot Dog Etiquette” is actually a marketing ploy by a Canadian sausage company trying to garner some publicity. And you would be right.

Nevertheless, there are some interesting insights about rules of Canadian hot dog engagement which you may not be familiar. According to this PDF:

  • Gravy and cheese curds are acceptable toppings. This is in reference to poutine, a dish although is venerated as Canadian, is not something most Canadians actually consume with frequency. It’s a bit like what deep dish pizza is for Chicagoans—served mainly for tourists who want to prove on Instagram they visited Canada. In the context of a hot dog, however, this is a terrific idea: Perhaps the rest of the world should consider adding gravy and cheese curds on a hot dog.
  • You can eat hot dogs in Canada with gloves. Okay, I suppose this is acknowledgment that Canada gets cold.
  • Ketchup on hot dogs is fine. The authors of this wrongly writes that “While many Americans shun ketchup on hot dogs.” This is a gross mischaracterization of Americans—it’s mostly just Chicagoans, and it’s a dumb provincial thing.
  • Hot dogs are not a sandwich. Well, plenty of notable people (albeit not Canadians) will firmly disagree with you on this matter.

Kevin Pang was the founding editor of The Takeout, and director of the documentary For Grace.


Five things I learned about food from five years married to a Canadian, five good years of my life wasted that I’ll never have back:

1. Canadians are not immune to the previously-thought-distinctly-American sin of putting ketchup on hot dogs. The disdain is not limited to Chicago—I’m from Boston my ownself, and have met people along the length and breadth of this great land who will think less of you for putting ketchup on anything that is not an order of fries.

2. A Canadian will insist “we don’t all talk like that, eh?” without a hint of irony or self-awareness. (it was Year 4 before I got her to say the word “about” correctly.)

3. Gravy on fries is the Ian Malcolm Principle in food form.

4. Canadian food could be markedly improved if they got the maple syrup from Vermont, the cheese curds from Wisconsin, and the potatoes from Maine.

5. Never, ever order pepperoni on a Canadian pizza unless it’s from a multinational that got its pepperoni recipe in the States. The worst pizza I have ever eaten in my life had an utterly insipid, spice-free pepperoni on it at a place called “Roi des sous-marins” in Montreal, and the stuff in Edmonton, where my ex-wife is from, wasn’t any better.