Debates on the sandwich merits of hot dogs and tacos, separately, can be found everywhere from The Atlantic and NFL locker rooms to The Guardian  and actual dates actual people actually go on where they spend actual hours crafting complex analogies to explain why hot dogs aren't sandwiches, but gyros might be.

Now, I'm not here to make a decision on that argument. Instead, I'm more concerned with scale. Maybe neither a hot dog nor a taco qualifies as a sandwich. But, of the two, which is more sandwichesque? Which possesses more sandwichey qualities and has more of a sandwichey personality? Basically, which is the Five Heartbeats to the sandwich's Temptations?


First, we have to start with a working definition of what a sandwich is.

From the internets:

Sandwich: an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread with meat, cheese, or other filling between them, eaten as a light meal.


Now, this is a bullshit definition. Because a shrimp and bacon club from the Cheesecake Factory is a sandwich, and the only people who'd consider that a "light meal" can't actually speak at the moment because they're in diabetic comas. Also, if you dare put a piece of fucking kale between two slices of bread and call that a sandwich, you deserve to get the shit smacked out of you with Black Klingon Jesus's hand.

More important than the definition, though, is the practical and pragmatic purpose of a sandwich. Basically, sandwiches exist to shove a bunch of food in your mouth without getting your hands very dirty. It's the world's only utensilless meal. It is also the ultimate paradox. A mechanism created to decrease excess mess while shoving a pork chop dipped in lard in your mouth.


Both tacos and the hot dog serve this purpose. But a hot dog does it a bit better. They're considerably less messy. The only excuses for mishandling a hot dog is either being at a baseball game or using it model efficient fellatio. Tacos, however, are inherently messy. Just as you don't trust Black men with no facial hair, don't trust a clean fucking taco. Because, like Black men with no facial hair, you leave a clean taco alone in your house, and it'll steal your couches and ice cube trays.

Edge: Hot Dog.

Also, when considering which is more sandwichesque between a taco and a hot dog, you have to understand the personality of the sandwich. Sandwiches aren't light meals, but they are inherently unpretentious. Which could either mean "down to Earth" or "broke as fuck." This is why any woman who orders a sandwich on a first dinner date is a keeper, and any man taking a woman on their first dinner date to somewhere that serves nothing but sandwiches probably has tongue gout.


Hipsters have attempted to make hot dogs fancy. But they've failed. Because hipsters fail at everything. That's why they're hipsters. And a taco is nothing but a sandwich that didn't give enough fucks to separate in two. So you're dealing with two equally unpretentious entities, which makes them equally sandwichesque.

Edge: Neither

Although bread serves a vital purpose — and can occasionally be the featured attraction — the star of the sandwich is the content. The content is what gives the sandwich its name. You don't call a sandwich a "bread sandwich." Unless you're Cappadonna or something. You call it a steak sandwich, or a whale meat sandwich, or fried chicken sandwich. And typing that sentence has made me want a fried whale meat steak sandwich.


Anyway, both the taco and the hot dog contain contents that are acceptably sandwichey. But, tacos are a bit more sandwichey, because their contents vary, just like a sandwich's. You can put anything in a taco. Including another taco. A hot dog, however, has strict rules. If it has anything other than the unnaturally elongated pigpussy mystery meat we call "hot dogs," it's no longer a hot dog. Just…something else with an inefficient bun.

Edge: Taco.

It would appear to be tied. That tacos and hot dogs are both equally sandwichesque. But the edge ultimately goes to the hot dog. Because, if you remove the hot dog from the hot dog and place literally any other meat in it, it becomes a hoagie. Which is a universally accepted form of sandwich. The only thing not making a hot dog a sandwich is the meat, whereas if you change the meat in a taco, you just have a taco with different meat. Which sounds like a euphemism for a particularly nasty sex act, but fortunately isn't.


Edge: Hot Dog

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a columnist for, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

Share This Story

Get our newsletter