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Which is better GRay's Papaya or Papaya King?

steakrules85 Mar 15, 2007 07:25 PM

Want to try one of them. Papaya King is right near where I work. The one on 9th and 41st. Anyone tried it? Which is better?

  1. p
    Paul N Mar 16, 2007 07:09 AM

    The King.

    1. w
      walter sobchak Mar 16, 2007 07:32 AM

      papaya king is tastier. gray's papaya is cheaper, but still good. then again, we're talking hot dogs here. they're both cheap. you might want to spring an extra couple bucks to try both and reach your own conclusion.

      1 Reply
      1. re: walter sobchak
        Andrew P. Mar 16, 2007 08:00 AM

        Walter: this is not Nam.

        I agree that it would only set you back $6 or so to do a side-by-side taste test. I'm especially partial to Papaya King on 86th and 3rd. Chili-cheese dog and papaya drink, please.

      2. NAtiveNewYorker Mar 16, 2007 07:53 AM

        Chelsea Papaya is the dark horse that beats them both, IMHO.

        1. r
          randymac88 Mar 16, 2007 08:22 AM

          I believe they both use the same dogs (Sabrett, same as close to every other dog in the city), so for me it comes down to toppings and atmosphere. Papaya King has Chili, where Gray's does not. As a result, my vote rests squarely on Papaya King.

          8 Replies
          1. re: randymac88
            bugmenot May 5, 2009 07:31 PM


            You FAIL! They are NOT Sabrett. At least at the King, they use their own dog recipe which hasn't been changed since they first created it. Only thing Sabrett they use are the rolls. Their wieners are delicious, and much better than Grays. I dare say, Gray is probably the same deal.

            I go to the one on 86th and 3rd. The Papaya drink there is very delish and frothy. Yum!
            And Fairway (upper west side) sells Papaya King hotdogs!

            1. re: bugmenot
              hotdoglover May 6, 2009 03:22 AM


              I'm too lazy to look for it now, but I have posted extensively about this. Papaya King DOES use Sabrett. This has been confirmed to me most recently by the guy from Papaya King who was at the Hot Dog Hootenanny at the Astor Center this past Sunday. I've spoken to distributors, someone whose father delivered Sabretts to Papaya King, Gray's, Katz's, and others, and the person in charge of private label at Sabrett who told me that Sabrett has only 2 recipes; an all beef and a beef and pork. While they make different sizes and franks with casing and skinless; there are only 2 recipes.

              The New York places named get the Sabrett all beef. Papaya King and Gray's get the same EXACT dog. Natural casing, 10 to a lb. Someone from Sabrett even gave me the # that goes on the boxes. Katz's also uses the same recipe dog, but it is a little bigger, maybe 8 or 9 to a lb.

              Papaya King and other places like to claim that they get a "special recipe" dog just to have you believe that you are getting something unique that you can only get at their place.

              You've been duped.

              1. re: hotdoglover
                randymac88 Jul 20, 2009 03:47 PM

                Thanks Hotdoglover for defending my honor.

                Bugmenot, who FAIL?

                I don't really know why people mess around with these dogs though...I guess because they're close by. I was lucky to live around Crif Dog and do firmly believe that they have the best dog in town with their New Yorker.

                1. re: randymac88
                  hotdoglover Jul 20, 2009 04:08 PM


                  I've been to Crif Dogs and like their dogs. Their regular dog (not the New Yorker) is a mild beef and pork dog from Thumann's that is made specifically for deep frying. It is unique in New York, but common in New Jersey. It is the same dog used at the famous Rutt's Hut and other North Jersey hot dog establishments. The owner even admitted to me that they patterned their place after Rutt's. They were smart enough to realize that many people in New York may not like this dog as it is milder than the all beef dogs New Yorkers are used to. So Crif's also has the New Yorker that you mentioned. Also made by Thumann's, it is an all beef dog in the style of a Nathan's or Sabrett, but a little less garlicky. This particular dog is prepared on a flat griddle like Nathan's, Katz's, Papaya King, and Gray's.

                  1. re: hotdoglover
                    randymac88 Jul 20, 2009 05:39 PM

                    Interesting. I started out going with their Chihuahua dog, often times heading in late night. I'd wake up in the morning and see the wrappers on the coffee table and have vague memories of my experience. After a while though I switched to the New Yorker because I think it makes you feel a little better walking out of the place. Their regular deep-fried dog is just too much for my stomach and I feel like i've eaten too many fries or made a trip to McDonalds for chicken mcnuggets or something. But thanks for the info.

                    1. re: hotdoglover
                      a_and_w Jul 20, 2009 06:36 PM

                      I was not a fan of Crif Dogs. The dog itself seemed an afterthought with the focus being on gimmicky toppings.

                      1. re: a_and_w
                        hotdoglover Jul 21, 2009 03:21 AM

                        The dogs (both kinds) are very good. I'm not big on toppings either, preferring just mustard. These dogs don't need them.

                        1. re: hotdoglover
                          a_and_w Jul 21, 2009 12:17 PM

                          I'll defer to your appraisal of the dogs. I wasn't impressed but went only a few times, the last years ago. I don't even remember there being more than one kind of dog.

                          It's not that I'm against toppings, it's more that I don't like the gimmicky ones. I want a self-serve condiment bar with chopped onions, relish, ketchup, and a few kinds of mustard. If you've been to Top Dog or one of its clones in SF, that's what I mean. It briefly existed in the form of BroomeDoggs on the LES, but they went kaput years ago. Still looking for something comparable in LA.

            2. ballulah Mar 16, 2007 08:36 AM

              Why don't you do a side-by-side test? If you're near the 9th Ave and 41st location, there's a Gray's Papaya on 8th Ave and 37th. Get one of each. You'll pay more at Papaya King, though. Personally, I really can't discern a difference [GASP!!].

              1. s
                steakrules85 Mar 16, 2007 10:26 AM

                How about the drinks? Is the Papaya anything special or is the mango good? I have heard to get the true experience you need to wash down your dog with a papaya juice which ive never had.

                2 Replies
                1. re: steakrules85
                  ballulah Mar 16, 2007 10:41 AM

                  The only one I like is the papaya, and it's sort of an acquired taste. Try it!

                  1. re: steakrules85
                    lawgirl1984 Jul 21, 2009 10:35 AM

                    Papaya King hot dog with mustard and saurkraut with a Banana drink. One of my favorites since childhood.

                  2. a_and_w Mar 16, 2007 12:02 PM

                    I prefer Papaya King only because you can get cole slaw on your dog.

                    1. Gluttonous Prime Mar 16, 2007 12:20 PM

                      I've done the side-by-side taste test between the Papaya King on 14th St. and 6th Ave. and Gray's Papaya on West 8th. The papaya drink was much more flavor and a better consistency at Papaya King, but the dog at Gray's really stood out. I like them slightly charred on the outside, which gave it a more satisfying snap. No need for toppings (aside from onions or kraut, of course).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Gluttonous Prime
                        ballulah Mar 16, 2007 12:25 PM

                        Personally I'm not an onions OR kraut kinda gal! hahaha. I'm more of a onions AND kraut, and some ketchup and mustard as well please.

                        1. re: ballulah
                          Gluttonous Prime Mar 16, 2007 06:07 PM

                          Agreed! I should have put onions and/or kraut. Ketchup and/or mustard I consider included also!

                          And another vote as well for Chelsea Papaya, the under"dog". Although it doesn't have the texture of Gray's, it's quite juicy.

                      2. b
                        bpjc Mar 16, 2007 01:15 PM

                        I'll second the shout-out to Chelsea Papaya! (23rd & 7th). I haven't had the other two in a while, so my memory may be off, but Chelsea Papaya's hot dogs have a very meaty taste; I think it may be a little more savory than the other two.
                        And yes, do try the papaya juice. . .it always leaves me with a very pleasant "healthy" feeling, which is a plus after eating two hot dogs!

                        1. s
                          steakrules85 Mar 16, 2007 04:05 PM

                          What is the best dog to get at Papaya King? How is the chili and cheese? Sounds interesting to meee

                          1. livetotravel Mar 16, 2007 05:35 PM

                            Where's the one on 9th & 41st ???? Papaya King doesn''t even know it's there!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: livetotravel
                              csw Mar 17, 2007 09:20 AM

                              The one in the jetblue terminal isn't listed either.

                            2. h
                              hotdoglover Mar 18, 2007 11:04 AM

                              I'm not crazy about the Papaya drinks, but according to most who have gone to both places, Papaya King is better. As far as the hot dogs go, Randymac88 is correct. Both use natural casing 10 to a lb Sabrett. Katz's also uses a Sabrett, but in a slightly larger size. Papaya King claimms their dogs are made to a special recipe, but this is not true. I've spoken to people at Sabrett as well as distributors. The dogs at these 2 places are the exact same. Which is better? Depends on what you get at any given time. I went with a N.J. newspaper to review hot dogs in Jersey all summer but we made one trip to N.Y. The dogs at Papaya King, Gray's, and Katz's all tasted the same, but on this particular day the roll fell apart at Papaya King. I've had undercooked dogs at Katz's. I like the new Papaya King that opened recently in Clifton, N.J. The owner of this franchise is there and makes sure everything is done right. I know that Papaya King is one of the few accounts that get their dogs refrigerated rather than frozen from the distributor.

                              1. a_and_w Mar 18, 2007 12:38 PM

                                I lived around the corner from Chelsea Papaya for several years. And while they serve a decent dog for a cheap price, I have to respectfully dissent from all the praise. Dogs are often withered and greasy, and the toppings are as weak as they are at every other Gray's in the city. I often found myself spending the extra dough for a larger, fresher dog at F&B, even though I don't think it's any great shakes either.

                                1. s
                                  sugartoof Jul 21, 2009 03:47 PM

                                  I much, much prefer Gray's to Papaya King.

                                  They stay on the grill longer, but in the end that just adds to the flavor I like, with the really good char. It's the kind of thing I've found myself craving. I always feel like I should like Papaya King more than I do, but they're never taste entirely cooked through to me, and I've even been served lukewarm dogs there. It just doesn't taste like anything special to me. More like just a standard New York hot dog. I've actually had better luck with the Jetblue location (which I'm not sure still exists at the T5 terminal?) than the UES location.

                                  Criff Dogs always tastes so greasy to me, and like they're serving me low quality meat I would avoid in a packaged hot dog. I wish I knew how to order there.

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: sugartoof
                                    foodwhisperer Jul 21, 2009 10:14 PM

                                    Papaya King is the original , probably 40 years or more experience in that business.
                                    The hotdogs are made by the same supplier of hot dogs to Nathan's, and Katz's ,,, Papaya King hands down.

                                    1. re: foodwhisperer
                                      hotdoglover Jul 22, 2009 03:21 AM

                                      Katz's, Papaya King, Gray's, and many of the Papaya King knockoffs are made by Marathon, the parent company of Sabrett. While Nathan's were made by them some years ago, they are now made by SMG Meats in a plant in Chicago. And it's a different recipe.

                                      1. re: hotdoglover
                                        sugartoof Jul 22, 2009 02:04 PM

                                        No wonder I like Nathan's a lot more now than I used to!

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