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Hebrew National or Vienna Beef Franks in the UK

  • FrBill Oct 13, 2011 05:17 AM
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Good Day

I've been obsessing over food again. This past weekend a mate of mine who is a pilot for BA told me that a passenger told him that Vienna Beef Franks are now available in the UK. He said the man also said that Hebrew National, if not already, is coming to the UK as well.

I think I've heard these rumours before and they turned out to be just that - rumours. But by chance has anyone seen or heard anything to confirm this?

I buy lovely German franks at least once a month from Fortnums. And whilst they're lovely, they're not the Bees Knees that I think Hebrew National and Vienna are.

I asked Esther, the lovely deli manager at Fortnums to see if she could get Viennas for me. A week or so later she phoned back and said she had failed in finding a provision company that carried them.

Any leads would be greatly appreciated!

Fr B+

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  1. When I still lived in the States, I loved when Hebrew National started selling low-fat hot dogs. I've had to do without them for 7 years, and have the feeling we'll be lucky to get even the regular ones if we get them at all. I sometimes buy hot dogs at Lidl (German), and they're not too bad. Long ago, Selfridge's had a kosher food section with some sort of hot dogs, but I never got to try them, and I haven't seen that section for awhile and think it's gone.

    If anyone could source the Hebrew Nationals, I'd think it would be Whole Foods. We can live in hope.

    1 Reply
    1. re: zuriga1

      Thank you for that Zuriga! I'll make a call to Selfridges and have a snoop. I've just received an email back from ConAgra (I love the inference in their name!) They are now the owners of Hebrew National. It's rather strange to imagine a state full of Republicans running a Kosher business. In any event the email said that I need to contact EG-Fleischwarenfabrik Dieter Hein GmbH & Co in Hasbergen to ask about the Vienna brand. I see this at least as a positive start as it suggests the Vienna brand is in the EU. I much much prefer Hebrew National over Vienna but I won't complain.

      I did try a Lidl brand of German frank - the ones in the tall jar as well as the fresh ones but I couldn't even swallow the first bite. It was so full of meal that it repulsed me. Yet I've heard other people say they're nice. I'm not sure what they would say after having an HN or Vienna! I miss the HN Knockwursts the most. I don't believe I've ever had the low-fat before. Next time I'm in New York I'll have a browse at Zabars. In fact, now that I think of it, if anyone would consider shipping Kosher internationally it would certainly be Zabars!

      Someone told me that Oscar Meyer make a Kosher all beef frank. My fridge is stocked with Oscar Meyer bacon and occasionally a packet of their franks. But they are manufactured in Spain rather than the states.

      Yes, my fingers remain crossed that someone may reveal the secret that HN or Vienna are on the loose here now. It may be like the Krispy Kreme whisper that covered the streets for months then all of a sudden - there they were!

      I'll let you know if I have any suggess with the good people in Hasbergen!

      Fr B+

    2. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/520500

      This recent thread might help you out. I didn't read it in detail as I'm not a hot dog lover but I remember it because I had no idea that hot dogs were made of beef.

      2 Replies
      1. re: gembellina

        Thank you so much for that Gembellina!

        You are actually right, generally Hot Dogs or franks are typically made of pork and chicken 'UFO's' Unidentified food objects.

        But for Kosher food this would not be possible and the standards would be exceptional. I've always been picky about franks. I think my favourite in the world are Danish ones. Then the beef Hebrew National or Vienna. Then it would fall to others such as Oscar Meyer or the German ones. I highly recommend them, anything from their Bratwurst to Knockwurst.

        Thank you again > I'll browse the thread!

        Be well

        Fr B+

        1. re: gembellina

          They're not made of beef in Springfield, anyway ...
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLefs6...

        2. Heard that the hotdogs at the Scandinavian Kitchen are supposed to be really good. Maybe they are like the Danish ones.

          Might also be worth visiting an Aldi to see what they have. T

          Their brats are rated on various sites. Maybe they will have some beef dogs. The hotdogs at Lidl are smoked pork.

          I also liked it when Krispy Kreme came to this country, and now never touch them. Can't believe I used to like them.

          Best dogs I have had here are the ones sold by Big Apple. He is usually at Old Street.
          Don't think there is much chance he will let you know his supplier though.

          3 Replies
          1. re: cathodetube

            Hey Cathode! Thank you SO much for the lead! I'll track down Big Apple and see if I can 'guilt' him into spilling the beans :-)
            Funny, I have the very same feeling about Krispy Kreme. I was an absolute addict years ago. I dreamt about the red light being on in the middle of the night. Sometimes I'd fly into Atlanta, arriving around 2 or 3 in the morning and the first thing I had to do was risk my life going to the area where the KK plant was. It was truly an amazing place! Thousands of little buns travelling on conveyor tracks along the ceiling and eventually soaring down into a shower of icing sugar and cream....what a dream...what an artery hardener! Just like you though, I haven't had one in ages and am not in the least bit interested. Strange how those things happen.

            I hear lots of people say nice things about the Aldi franks. I tried a Lidl once and simply could not eat it. It was vile. I think I might give a visit to Aldi this week. Thank you!

            Scandinavian Kitchen? Is that the place where the old Movenpick restaurant was located?

            Fr B+

            1. re: FrBill

              Scandinavian Kitchen is at 61 Great Titchfield Street, W1. It's a very pleasant cafe with a grocery area at the back. The hotdogs are on their menu, but don't know if they sell them in the store. I also recommend their sticky Swedish chocolate cake.

              1. re: cathodetube

                Thank you for that Cathode...not the place I thought but now I recognise where you're speaking of. I'll try to go there tomorrow. Thank you very much indeed!

                Fr Bill+

          2. Being English I'm not really au fait with with hot dogs and franks.
            However I have heard good reports about the dog father in E Dulwich ( if you're prepared to go sarf of the river).
            There 100% beef and kosher (in the proper sense rather than the London vernacular)

            http://helengraves.co.uk/2011/03/the-...

            39 Replies
            1. re: Paprikaboy

              Thank you Paprkia! I have not been to the Dulwich area in a long time. I'll give it a peek. Plans are to visit the Scandinavian Kitchen this weekend. Far too much of a glutton if I were to visit both on the same day :-)

              Fr Bill+

              1. re: Paprikaboy

                The Dogfather is near me. He also won't tell you where he gets his dogs from. I have tried. He only has one choice of dog, beef, and then he has many different toppings unlike Big Apple who goes for a variety of dogs with only sauteed onions and a choice of condiments. I think Big Apple are better, as in better tasting and more choice. I do know where the buns can be obtained though. They are in the Dulwich vicinity.

                You could also try Costco for their dogs. They aren't bad.

                1. re: cathodetube

                  Thank you for that Cathode. Still haven't heard back from Dieter-Hein. It may be that I need to write them in German rather than English. I'm keen to try Big Apple's just on popularity alone. My preference is for the beef franks first and foremost right now. Thank you again for all your advice.

                  Fr Bill+

                  1. re: FrBill

                    Just an FYI that BAHD is now also at the new Eat St. event at Kings Cross (Kings Boulevard). Check the calendar for who is there and when. Though note he's running two carts so will still be serving at Old St though w/ out Abiye. He's at least 20% maybe more of the appeal.

                    Ive become a regular of sorts at Old St. Would recommend the big dog (beef and pork) and maybe a smaller pimp steak for a perfect meal.

                    Now only if I could get a knish wrapped in foil w/ my dirty water dog and some grey slushy snow on the street I would be magically transported to the NYC of my youth.

                    1. re: NYLONDave

                      I had to look this one up!

                      http://www.eat.st/kings-cross/

                      1. re: zuriga1

                        Excellent Sleuth work Zuriga and you also solved part of the mystery about at least one set of franks..I noticed in the first line of the new story that it says Big Apple's franks are made here. That was something I was definitely curious about.

                        Thank you very much indeed! And I shall remain in search of the ever-elusive international frank!

                        Fr Bill+

                        1. re: FrBill

                          You're very welcome. I sometimes think Google has taken over my life. :-)

                        2. re: zuriga1

                          You can subscribe to their site. That way you should get a updated link whenever anything is planned.

                          1. re: cathodetube

                            Thanks Cathode. I've done that so I can keep up. Today didn't turn out as hoped - duty called - so I fill follow up when the BA is in Dulwich...Scandinavian kitchen will be approached in the new week...and as my final treat I'm stopping off to visit my eccentric 'girlfriend' Esther at Fortnums. I'll pick up some franks to take home and ask her where they're coming from.
                            Can't decide which is better - the wonderful Danish ones or the american ones...both uniquely different. I've ordered 4 tins of Bush's Baked Beans to compliment the franks. Had to get that from the Stateside Candy Company. I've learnt how to make them myself now but I'm far to lazy to do so.

                            Was told today that Australian franks are even better than the Hebrew National ones. I lived in Oz for six years but must admit I have virtually no recollection of their franks. Apparently I can satisfy my cravings at a shop near Earl's Court. I'm told the shop is on Kenway Road. Perhaps someone knows its name?

                            All I remember on Kenway Road is the old Hi Tide chippy...(excellent in my book) - it's a true blue dinky di shop almost next door to an Oz Pub, but for the life of me I cant envisage a frank or burger shop anywhere along there.

                            Good eating all

                            Fr Bill+

                            1. re: FrBill

                              The Dogfather is only in Dulwich on Saturdays. Where did you get the Danish ones from? If you like mustard French's has a new spicy version out in a squeezy bottle. Bought some from Sainsbury. They had a money back offer if you didn't like it. I put it in my baked beans.

                              1. re: FrBill

                                The Scandi Kitchen website lists a famous Danish red hot dog to buy in their grocery section. Maybe that is the one they serve there.

                                1. re: cathodetube

                                  That sounds quite interesting. I'll give it a try thank you. I got my Danish ones from Fortnums. Up until about three months ago they had three different types of frank - the typical long thin German ones, An English course style that I didn't really care for and Esther said didn't sell as often as the others and then the Danish ones. The Danish ones were almost exactly how I remembered them whenever I'm in Denmark...the only difference was that for some very odd reason, Fortnums didn't have the Danish mustard.

                                  By serendipity I suppose more than anything, Lidl had a Danish week promotion about the same time. I bought the Lidl Danish mustard. It was spot on perfect.

                                  No more Danish franks at Fortnums right now. Perhaps next Summer. So I'll have to hop a flight over if I start craving again.

                                  For anyone who's interested, If you buy a half-dozen or more franks, Fortnums will pack them in an ice block bag so they won't go off on the journey home. Also, if you visit there on Tuesday, they have the fresh blocks of foie gras from the South of France.

                                  :-)

                                  Cathode, did you like the new mustard? I like French's as well as Gulden's ...but I think on Bush's beans the French's is most to my preference.

                                  Fr B+

                                  1. re: FrBill

                                    I like both of the French's, especially on fries, burgers, and hotdogs. Never had any Danish franks though.

                                    1. re: cathodetube

                                      They're the bees knees! Quite different in the world of franks, but lovely. The Danes serve them in a long bun that is hollowed out in the centre with mustard placed in the barrel, then the frank. I don't believe they're all beef - I've actually never asked. They have the texture of a Nathan's dog...another fine dog in the world of canine delicacies...in fact, I'd be happy as Larry to have a Nathan's right this moment in place of a Hebrew National or a Vienna.

                                      It's all your fault Cathode...now I'm craving!

                                      scallywag!

                                      Fr Bill+

                                      1. re: FrBill

                                        How about a nice Coney from Detroit? I love those.

                                        Am sure you will love the Big Apple ones. Gourmet Traveller has a review on site.

                                        1. re: FrBill

                                          I once lived very close to a Nathan's large restaurant in Yonkers. We were so poor then and would take my older son for a hot dog as a treat. You're right that they are excellent hot dogs. I'll be booking my ticket to NY fairly soon if all this talk of American food keeps up. I need hot dog relish on my dogs, and I can get the Heinz variety at some of the online shops or at Panzer's in St. John's Wood.

                                          I will try the Danish ones... never had one in Copenhagen but they sound very worth a go. I will even trek up this Friday to try the ones at the new Kings Cross market. I must be nutz.

                                          -----
                                          St. John
                                          26 St John Street, London EC1M 4AY, GB

                                          1. re: zuriga1

                                            Zuriga,

                                            You don't need to go to Kings Cross to try Big Apple as he is at Old Street on other days. But it does sound like an interesting place to visit now. He is also on Twitter! I know you don't do it but you can look at his feed.

                                            1. re: cathodetube

                                              Have you tried a Kosher delicatessen in Golder's green etc?

                                              Even Ocado sells Bloom's Kosher Smoked Beef Viennas but I'm not sure whether this fits the description of what you're looking for?

                                              http://www.ocado.com/webshop/product/...

                                              1. re: gourmetgorro

                                                All Bloom's products are a blasphemy of whatever original product they're aiming to reproduce.

                                                The Chicago Kosher hotdogs available at Ocado aren't American standard quality, but are really quite tasty.

                                                There is a big hot-dog thread elsewhere with some recommendations on places to buy hotdogs in Golders Green if anyone else is interested.

                                                1. re: brokentelephone

                                                  I'm late in responding...work day for me and all....thank you everyone!
                                                  Cathode, I've never had a 'Detroit Dog' can't even begin to imagine. However, considering that Detroit has such a large historical Polish community I can easily picture some really lovely locally made franks.

                                                  Brokenphone - you are absolutely right! I was so excited when I first saw those at Waitrose and I immediately bought two packs...didn't even make it into a second bite! With disgust it went straight into the bin! And despite trying I could not even give the unopen packet to anyone...really sad...

                                                  Now, I feel a bit ashamed. I really ought to have gone to Golders Green a long time ago to see if I could suss out a frank there. I occasionally go to the Gaby's Kosher deli on Charing Cross Road. BEST Salt-beef sandwiches short of flying to Manhattan! Oi Vey it's good! Gaby's has a Kosher Knockwurst. And whilst I enjoy them it's a bit heavy to treat as a run of the mill frank for lunch.

                                                  I get extremely frustrated when I see British products labelled saying 'American' or 'American style.' I always think, Crikey! Why doesn't someone buy these people an aeroplane ticket to the states for the weekend so they can get a taste of what the products taste like!!! It's sooo disheartening at times.

                                                  My list for the next week is Scandinavian...that one I can do...and I'm going to see if I can get Fortnums to order some Danish franks in for me. I've pestered the poor lady for the Hebrew National ones for the past couple of years. I'm glad we're friends otherwise I think she would chase me out of the store!

                                                  I was going to mention that when you can't find an american style product, don't forget the Canada Shop on Maiden Lane. That's my saving grace. I like the Heinz relish you mention but prefer Bicks brand. They used to carry them at Tesco but they seem to have disappeared.

                                                  Thank you all for all your sleuth work. If I have success this week I'll share the news immediately !

                                                  Fr Bill+

                                                  1. re: FrBill

                                                    You've touched on one of my pet peeves since moving here. All these products called, 'American' or 'American-style,' are a good laugh. The makers obviously think this is a great selling point with the British, who do make fun of us on many occasions but there is such a love/hate relationship.

                                                    Have never been to Gaby's but will give it a go one day. My problem with British salt beef sandwiches is how thickly the meat is cut. It should be thinly sliced!

                                                    1. re: zuriga1

                                                      Perhaps ask them to slice it thinly?

                                                      In the deli I grew up eating at there was a premium charge for hand slicing meat (as opposed to it being done on the Berkel) so I think I idealized hand-cut as the superior way!

                                                      1. re: brokentelephone

                                                        Good morning all!

                                                        Detroit - no, I'm not certain. BA may have now dropped that route and I'm fairly certain it's not a hub point for AA. Most of my friends are either with BA or AA - they both assist me with my mission in the Republic of Moldova. I was thinking of asking one of them to grab something in Manhattan as both crews use a hotel on Lexington Avenue almost across from Bloomingdales and D'Agostino's. Zabar's is up in the Upper West Side so I'll have to forgo that idea. Since writing earlier I've sent two text messages but have not yet heard back, which suggests they're downline right now.

                                                        Gaby's does have a tendency to provide rather thick bits of salt beef. To be honest I can't really imagine the dish they serve being cut thinly as it has always been a bit crumbly. At the risk of being pommelled here I think it's a lovely place. But it's most assuredly a deli! There is nothing whatsoever posh about the place. It's a working man's shop - noisy, cramped and busy. But they're lovely people in there and I enjoy going.

                                                        If you prefer a thin slice I'd recommend you go to the 'Nosh Bar' at 39 Windmill Street - almost directly across from the old stripper dive 'The Windmill.' Previously it was the epitome of Kosher even with the Mogan David in the window. I often ate there as a child. Before the owner, Sol, passed away - he used to joke 'here comes my goyim friend.' This was one of those lovely vanishing vistas of Soho. Now as the Nosh Bar it's excellent and worth the visit.
                                                        Lovely - just found a review -

                                                        http://youngandfoodish.com/london/the...

                                                        By the way - has anyone ever had a hot dog from Ed's Easy DIner on Compton Street in Soho? Do I dare?

                                                        http://edseasydiner.com/menu.php

                                                        Fr B+

                                                        1. re: FrBill

                                                          Another one bites the dust! I just phoned the Nosh Bar after reading comments that it may be closed. Their phone number apparently is now a fax machine. This does not bode well.

                                                          I'll have to hoof it over there and have a snoop.

                                                          Je suis triste!

                                                          Fr B+

                                                          1. re: FrBill

                                                            That review page you linked said it was closed.

                                                            1. re: cathodetube

                                                              You are correct but I was hoping that it was just temporary. I heard from someone at Gaby's that the reason had to do with an 'inappropriate' transfer of assets. That could send someone's mind in many directions. But I just hoped it had sorted itself out. The only other place I've had good thin sliced salt beef is at a small shop just about across from Goodge Street station but for the life of me I can't recall the name. The owner even took me into the back to proudly show me he had several briskets soaking in pots. But that was a jolly long time ago..

                                                              many apologies.

                                                              Fr B+

                                                              1. re: FrBill

                                                                Have you tried Reubens in Baker Street for kosher food? Pretty sure they have salt beef.

                                                                Have eaten at Ed's a long time ago, both the one in Soho and Kings Road. Also used to be one in Hampstead. Only had hamburgers there.

                                                                1. re: cathodetube

                                                                  Reuben's has pretty good salt beef.

                                                          2. re: FrBill

                                                            I must have some luck because I did get a sandwich at the Nosh Bar shortly before it closed (from a tip right here on CH). I was so happy to finally find a good salt beef place, and then........that was history. Quelle dommage!!

                                                            I had a hot dog about six months ago at Ed's Easy at Bluewater. I'm sure it's the same brand they use in London. From what I remember, it was very big and not bad at all. The waitress asked me where I was the day Elvis died. Maybe she asks that of anyone with an American accent. :-)

                                                            1. re: zuriga1

                                                              Hawksmoor hotdogs. Unbelievable

                                                              -----
                                                              Hawksmoor
                                                              157 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ, GB

                                                              1. re: Coldsoup

                                                                Hey Cold! I see they give due credit to our friends at BigApple as well. This looks quite intriguing, plus there are numerous other enticements on the menu that draw me....I'm a sucker for a quality fresh Bernaise Sauce....

                                                                All these places MUST be conquered! Thank you for this!

                                                                Has anyone else tried their new franks? Clearly they rather fail on the Kosher metre, but hey, it's much easier to get forgiveness than it is to get permission!

                                                                Thank you again!

                                                                Fr B+

                                                                1. re: Coldsoup

                                                                  Which Hawkssmoor sells hotdogs? And for lunch? dinner?
                                                                  THanks

                                                                  1. re: brokentelephone

                                                                    Good evening Phone!

                                                                    Have a look here and click on 'lunch'

                                                                    http://www.thehawksmoor.co.uk/home_fo...

                                                                    I assumed it was at Spitalfields but to be honest I have yet to read it all the way through.

                                                                    Be well

                                                                    Fr B+

                                                                    1. re: FrBill

                                                                      Thanks for the link Bill -- I searched through all of the menus at both locations, and couldn't see the hotdog on the menu.

                                                                      If someone that has tried it could let me know I'd really appreciate it!

                                                                      Thanks

                                                                      1. re: brokentelephone

                                                                        Apparently the same butcher/sausage maker who supplies Big Apple also supplies Hawksmoor. Give them a call.

                                                                        -----
                                                                        Hawksmoor
                                                                        157 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ, GB

                                                                        1. re: brokentelephone

                                                                          I apologise unreservedly Broken...it wasn't the lunch menu obviously...it's the 'Bar' menu...here she is:

                                                                          http://www.thehawksmoor.co.uk/downloa...

                                                                          Again, many apologies...it sounds fantastic!

                                                                          BTW, by hook & crook I have two packets of Hebrew Nationals scheduled to depart JFK tomorrow night. Should be at LHR around 0930. All it will cost me is a late brekkie at one of the choke & Spew Café's in West Drayton and a ride home for my BA cabin crew friend. I'm deeply indebted to her!

                                                                          Cathode, you are right as was alluded to somewhere in the earlier thread. I'm indebted to you all!

                                                                          Fr B+

                                                                          1. re: FrBill

                                                                            Seems easier to find a good butcher to make up your own dogs, rather like Big Apple does. And, Father Bill, I am amazed at the trouble you are undergoing to secure 2 packs of Hebrew Nationals. Will they be allowed through customs? And if they are, why not ask for more than two? Did you try the Costco ones?

                                                                            1. re: cathodetube

                                                                              Cathodetube -- I have experience in import/export, and grew up around foodservices and can certainly understand your opinion, but in my opinion, importing things is far easier than having them produced (unless on a very small scale).

                                                                              The goodwill of Hebrew National branding would take years and years to replicate in the UK, and frankly (LOL) I don't think that any butchery in the UK would have the capacity to produce a product as good as Hebrew National on a large scale. I acknowledge that making hotdogs isn't rocket science, but something must be said for 50 years of experience as the top producer of (kosher) hotdogs in America.

                                                                            2. re: brokentelephone

                                                                              Just saw that there is a company called Gourmet Hotdog in Reuters Plaza, Canary Wharf. Don't know how new it is. I remember someone buying me some Costco dogs a few years ago. They were huge. All beef. I think Hebrew National supply most of the Costco stores in the US.

                            2. Just called Panzer in St. John's Wood. Asked them what they had in the way of beef hotdogs. Nothing at the moment, but apparently they usually have Chicago Jumbo Hotdogs. £5.50. Not sure if that is the whole name or just the way the man described them. Think it was only 4 in a pack. So out of stock this week but might be worth checking in again!

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: cathodetube

                                Those are the ones made in the UK available at quite a few retailers in London and via Ocado online. They aren't bad at all, but miss the mark compared w/HN (plus I have twice bitter into something hard -- not exactly appetizing).

                              2. .

                                2 Replies
                                1. re: Chatsworth

                                  Went to the Kosher Deli in Edgware yesterday. They had packs of American beef hotdogs which were like Viennas, just sized differently. Approximately 65% beef. They also had packs of pre-sliced American style salt beef. Bought a pack of each and have yet to try. They have 4 shops in total, including one in Golders Green.

                                  1. re: cathodetube

                                    Good morning! I know where you're speaking of...just a question...pedantic thing that I am...by chance did you happen to glance at the back of the packet to see where they came from? Might have to have a saunter over to Edgeware this weekend!

                                    Thank you VERY much!

                                    Fr Bill+