It’s all hip-hop and hot dogs at DJ, a “music and fast food” restaurant in a hipster neighborhood in the East District. A turntable booth stocked with a collection of rap and R ’n’ B vinyl takes up a sizable portion of the dining area. The shelves proudly display albums by Eminem, Ying Yang Twins, Michael Jackson and Mariah Carey.
As for America’s favorite snack, DJ offers seven varieties, including the “American-style” hot dog (NT$90), which comes loaded with onions, sauerkraut and pickles, and the chili hot dog (labeled “spicy meat” on the menu, NT$130). For the adventurous, there’s the calamari hot dog (NT$130), recommended by the friendly manager.
Another house recommendation, the cheese hot dog (NT$130), is basically the American-style dog with a combination of processed American cheese and cheddar shreds melted on top. The frankfurter or “German wurst,” tasted much better than the average store-bought sausage. DJ, which seats about 20 people, did this dog right by keeping it simple. Looking appropriately messy and lowbrow, the frankfurter arrived with artificial-looking yellow cheese blistering on top. The side of French fries and soda at an additional NT$70 delivered on “fast food” comfort. The only drawback was the slightly overcooked bun.
Those with American-sized appetites should also order from the deep-fry selection, which includes French fries (NT$100), fried potato wedges or “Golden Fries” (NT$130), onion rings (NT$100), chicken nuggets (NT$120) and cheese sticks (NT$120). Spicy chicken wings are also available for NT$180.
A flat screen TV hanging on the wall played a DVD mix of hip-hop and R ’n’ B. Scarfing down greasy food and watching rap videos almost felt like the equivalent of getting mesmerized by a Bollywood movie at an Indian restaurant. Halfway through the meal, I suddenly realized that I had sat through several clips by rappers Young Buck and Lil’ Wayne, as well as Mary J. Blige’s stylish video for We Ride (I See the Future), in which she cruises Los Angeles and the southern California coast on a chopper motorcycle. Consider getting takeout if such a playlist would detract from your hot dog moment.
According to the manager, DJ has more of a bar vibe in the evenings, when they turn down the lights and have live DJs work the turntables. The drink selection includes Budweiser (NT$120) and Smirnoff Ice (NT$120), while teetotalers can have canned sodas or tea for NT$70, and Mango or Cranberry juice for NT$90.
Though it doesn’t quite match the selection or the quality at Gusto Street Hot Dogs (located on Ruian Street (瑞安街) and open only on weekends), DJ makes for an acceptable quick fix if you are in the neighborhood and in a hip-hop mood.
Address: 9, Ln 62, Yanji Street, Taipei City (台北市延吉街62巷9號)
Telephone: (02) 8772-7628
Open: 11:30am to 11pm
Average Meal: NT$200 Details: Credit cards not accepted
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