This Detoxifying Hot Dog Is the Wiener We Never Asked For

Publish date:
July 13, 2016

I am usually all about IKEA food. I love a lingonberry drink, and no trip to the giant, semi-frustrating furniture store is complete without a plate of meatballs, but they may have gone too far just now. I say "may" because I can't decide if I'm delighted or appalled by their most recent culinary offering: a black hot dog that is made with activated charcoal.

Dubbed the "Ninja Dog" and sold at IKEA's Japan locations, the "detoxifying" wiener is described thusly on the Swedish company's website:

A newly available menu is gaining attention at IKEA Bistro!

The name — Ninja dog — says it all: It’s a giant hot dog shaped after a ninja scroll! The sausage is no less than 30 cm long (in a 20 cm bun)! Both of them contains edible bamboo charcoal which is said to have detox properties. And also gives them this deep black color, like a real scroll!

I'm not sure that the name does say it all, whoever writes the copy for IKEA food items, for the name does not tell me that this hot dog is black, nor does it tell me that it is intended to have "detox properties." Also, aren't all hot dogs "shaped like a ninja scroll" if they are long enough to hang off the sides of the bun? (To be fair, my knowledge of scrolls — ninja or otherwise — is cursory at best.)

If I were to pick a name for this offering, and wanted to pick one that really "said it all," I'd probably go with "Goth Dog" or maybe "Sin Dog" or perhaps "What. Why?"

I guess this isn't that shocking, as Japan does seem to enjoy food with charcoal in it, as evidenced by the black Burger King offerings from a few years back. Also, if I were ever to buy into a detoxification program of any kind, it would be one in which hot dogs featured in a major way. According to WebMD, which I primarily use to assure myself "it's just an ingrown hair," activated charcoal is great at "trapping chemicals" and is used to treat poisoning and hangovers. I'm not sure how much charcoal it takes to prevent a hangover, but if these demonic-looking dogs were available stateside, I'd have to perform some tests.

Based on Instagram sleuthing I did, it would seem that these charcoal-infused dogs taste like regular hot dogs, which means I would probably eat one.

But enough about the Ninja Dog. I've just noticed that Japanese IKEA food courts have something much more interesting, and it is a little treasure known as the "Double Mashed Potato Dog":

Topping opportunities here are particularly exciting. Do you go with traditional hot dog toppings or turn this into a loaded baked potato situation? (I think I'd go the potato route, to be completely honest.)

What do you all think of this dark and brooding wiener? Would you try it? Should I launch a hot dog–based cleanse system? I'll let you guys in on the ground.