The love of the hotdog in Copenhagen

One of the bits of advice I received in my planning for the trip to Copenhagen was to “try the hotdogs.” I was assured that they were a great way to get a relatively inexpensive meal (though it truly is relative – they are $5-8 each on the street). And it was suggested that they were really quite delicious. Well, I’ve had the hotdog, and it was definitely less expensive than most every other meal option. But I’m not entirely sure that “delicious” is the word I’d use to describe them. Maybe it is my fault because I ordered the wrong one. But at that price I wasn’t going to try the full range of choices they had. Or maybe it is just that the hotdogs are strange there and I had no business ordering one in the first place. Perhaps I’ll never know.

The hot dog carts are scattered about in the touristy areas of town but not on every street corner or even in most of the squares that we passed through. Perhaps that should have been a hint that it wasn’t meant to be. In fact, I had to eat an extra meal that day and go out of my way to find a hotdog cart because there weren’t any around each time we went to eat. Or, perhaps I should have taken the closure of one of the more written about hotdog options – the Grill at Nimb in Tivoli Gardens – as a hint; even the relatively expensive $10 versions there weren’t enough to keep them in business using quality ingredients so how good could the cheap ones be?

Still, when I showed up at the kiosk near Nyhavn I was reasonably impressed with the selections available on the grill and forged ahead with my plans to dine on these delicacies.


The guy in front of me in line ordered and was served and then it was my turn. I certainly could say the name of the version I wanted in Danish – it was “Frankfurter.” The woman working the cart asked what I wanted on it and I went with the “everything” approach. Perhaps a mistake there, but I was trying to experience the true Copenhagen hotdog and toppings didn’t seem like a place to skimp. I handed over my 30 Kronor and I received back this behemoth, virtually impossible to eat without making a complete mess of myself, especially since I was trying to do so while walking.

SBM_7812 I found a quiet place to stop and try to eat this thing. That only helped a tiny bit in the mess department. The dog was twice as long as the bun and the bun did nothing to contain the toppings on the sides. The skin was a bit crunchy – I actually like that in general as it shows the grilled nature of the dog rather than boiled like one gets in New York City – but that also made it harder to eat because it “bounced back” each time I bit in, shaking a few of the toppings loose.

I made it through about half the dog before finally giving up, licking my wounds (and fingers, hands and forearms) and making my way back to the hotel to grab our bags and head to the ferry terminal for the ride to Oslo. I had most certainly been defeated by the hotdogs of Copenhagen and there was nothing I could do about it.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.


  1. And that's why I always enjoy a good currywurst when in Germany — a civilized way to eat a grilled sausage without creating a mess. 🙂

    When I was in Denmark as a kid, they had firetruck-red dogs. Some really weird food coloring… Did you see any of those?

  2. Nothing bright red that I remember, though I was in a bit of a saussage haze as I walked away from the stand.

  3. The reason the hot dog was twice as long as the bun is because it’s ALL ABOUT THE HOT DOG!

    I’m from Chicago, trust me on this. 

    1. Hehe…I just figured the bun would be useful for catching all the stuff falling off the dog. It was definitely an experience and definitely crazy. Not sure I’m up for doing it again, though.

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