|Napa Valley chef Hector Marroquin topped his buffalo hot dog with his "kimchi 3.0," on a whole wheat bun slathered with Dijon mustard. I included sweet potato fries to complement the spicy kimchi. (Photo by Tammy Quackenbush)|
Chef Hector Marroquin of the Pupusa Griddle booth at the St. Helena Farmers Market in Napa Valley wanted to expand kimchi creations beyond his kalbi-style short ribs topped with kimchi made with a blend of local peppers.
Inspired by a picture of my husband eating a hot dog topped with kimchi, Marroquin "koreafornianized" the street food favorite hot dog topped with sauerkraut. He put a Native American spin on it by replacing the beef Kosher dog with a buffalo dog and swapping the kraut for kimchi. The spicy, garlic-forward tang complements the bold buffalo flavor.
Marroquin's buffalo kimchi dog was a quick seller at the farmer's market.
"The customers loved it, and did not mind paying $7 for a buffalo kimchi dog on french," Marroquin told me. Demand for the Kimchi buffalo hot dogs consistently outlasted the supply.
But he ran into a serious problem making it a permanent feature on the menu.
Primarily, it was finding grass-fed, humanely raised buffalo hot dogs. The most promising source was the company who supplies the dogs exclusively to Whole Foods Market. Having to pay retail at $8.99/lb. took a big bite out of his profit margin.
Despite the setbacks, Marroquin featured the franks on the menu for several weeks, running out every time he offered them on the menu.