The Papaya King truck (@papayakingla) is a temporal thing, existing only until the storefront at the corner of Hollywood and Wilcox opens on May 18th. But, as promised a couple weeks ago, we wanted to take a look at both ends of the NY/LA hot dog/ice cream exchange. Roaming town in a bright yellow truck that touts the virtues of their natural casings, Papaya King is making a bold play for the city's hot dog trade. Can 79 years of frankfurters and tropical juices be wrong?
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We stopped going to Pink's years ago, when it morphed from beloved local pit stop to tourist mecca with intolerable lines. And among the wave of nouveau food trucks, we have found few hot dogs worth the price. Since cheap street dogs have never really caught on here, we've been at a loss.
Papaya King dogs, brought to Los Angeles by nightlife juggernaut SBE, are thinner than the typical store-bought hot dog and served on a grilled, white bread bun. They have a better-than-average snap though nothing like the crisp first bite of a Let's Be Frank organic dog. At $2, they're also nowhere near the price of most gourmet dogs. Venture beyond toppings like relish, kraut and onions (raw or NY), and you might end up paying $4 for your dog.
We'll reserve final judgment on the chili, the curly fries, the smoothies and all the rest of it until the store opens -- we're told that the brick-and-mortar dogs will be even better than the ones on the truck -- but Papaya King LA is off to a promising start.