Young & Hungry: Pio Pio's Secret Green Sauce and Fried Hot Dogs

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From garbage plates to the chips, cheese, and chicken combination I was hooked on from English kebab vans, I have an unhealthy obsession with french fries topped with fattening goodies. So when my friend told me about salchipapas at Pio Pio, I almost ran over to the Upper West Side branch. French fries topped with fried hot dog slices? Say no more.

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The prospect of solely eating fried hot dogs and potatoes for dinner may sound appealing, but in my ongoing efforts (albeit feeble, at times) to pump up my diet with greens, I opted for the avocado salad to start. It looked delicious enough when it came out, but the instant I forked that first avocado slice revealed all: what should have been creamy and ripe was very much the opposite. Next time, a few more days back in those alligator pear skins.

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Salchipapas is a popular snack food throughout South and Central America, where you can often find them sold in a paper cone and topped with mayo, ketchup, and a toothpick. At Pio Pio, salchipapas came on a plate in a heaping mound of freshly fried goodness. For just $4, the salchipapas are listed as a side on Pio Pio's menu, but for one—it's a meal. The hot dogs were all beef and sliced, its curled-up edges reminding me of where it just came out of: a deep fryer. While the fries were chunky and a bit average, what truly stood out for me was the cilantro cream sauce I dipped it all in.

While a similar sauce at Flor de Mayo was watery and lacked flavor, Pio Pio's version was rich and creamy with great pings of hot spice, tang, and salt. A quick Google search revealed that I'm not alone in pondering the contents of Pio Pio's addictive, yet mysterious, green sauce.

Pio Pio Salon

702 Amsterdam Avenue, New York NY 10025 (at 94th St.; map) 212-665-3000
PioPioNYC.com