hot dogs el tigre food stand

Last month after one of Jake’s softball games, we were driving around in search of food. We decided to drive east on University Avenue from the 805 to just wander until we found something that caught our eye. That’s when I saw a food stand on the street in front of a body shop called Tito’s Body Shop. It’s catty corner to Canada Steak Burger and we parked in a lot next to a little market.


The sign that caught my eye was the big “Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs” sign in the back. The little stand is called Hot Dogs el Tigre. 


Here’s the “Tito’s” sign they are stationed under. 


And this is their menu (taken in June). On their Facebook page I have seen photos of tacos, but they didn’t have any of those on the night we visited. They are here on the corner most nights after 6PM until 10PM (except for Wednesdays and Thursdays).


I got really excited when I saw that they were making churros! Churros are ONLY made on the weekends. 

Jake and I started talking about the churros while we were waiting for them to be made, remarking how it was very similar in style to Churros el Tigre (which  has a stand down in the outlet mall at Las Americas Premium Outlets now instead of in City Heights). The churros were made in a very similar style with fresh dough that is turned and then cut off to drop into the hot oil.  The owner’s son overhead us and started to tell us that the churros from Churros el Tigre’s is based off of his dad’s (the owner) recipe! Apparently they used to be partners and then split up due to some misunderstandings. The son was very proud of his dad and their original churros.


[churros / $3]

At Hot Dogs El Tigre (which is also referred to as Churros El Tigre El Original) you get 7 pieces for $3. They were very nice to us and gave us a few extra churros! 


The main difference between Hot Dogs El Tigre and Churros El Tigre is the size of the churros! Hot Dogs El Tigre makes really looooooong churros! 


See what I mean? Looooooooong. 

I think the churros needed a touch more cinnamon sugar and were cooked just slightly too long so they were extra crunchy, but they were hot, fresh, and really tasty otherwise. You get a lot more bang for your buck here! 


[bacon wrapped hot dog / $2]

Hot Dogs! These are “TJ” style which means they’re loaded with mayo, mustard, ketchup, grilled onions and peppers (or those could be jalapenos, actually, I can’t remember – I took them off). The bacon is nicely seared and the hot dog is grilled. The bun was nice and soft and it tasted really yummy. Not bad for $2. 


[banana leaf wrapped chicken tamale / $2.75]

I didn’t notice right away (probably because it was in Spanish and I wasn’t paying attention) that all their tamales are made with banana leaves instead of corn husks. The banana leaf makes the tamales much more moist and soft than corn husk wrapped tamales. It’s not horrible, it’s just not my preferred style. 


The masa is very soft and has an almost “wet” texture. The filling is chicken with some green sauce and it was SUPER SPICY. Damn. 


[banana leaf wrapped pork tamale / $2.75]

The other one we got is pork.


I was hoping for less spicy, but no such luck, man. Jake really enjoyed both though, spicy lover that he is. They also have a plain sweet corn tamale for $2 that I might like better. Hot dogs and churros though! Cheap eats on the street are the best, man. 

I used cash for my purchases so I’m unsure if they take credit cards. I’d think you best bet would be to bring cash. 

Hot Dogs El Tigre | Facebook
3581 University Ave.
San Diego, CA 92104

Hours: Thursday-Tuesday, 6PM-10PM
Closed Wednesdays and Thursdays

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6 thoughts on “hot dogs el tigre food stand

  1. I remember when Churros el Tigre was all the rage on yelp. It was like that Patron party you went to – no one ever seemed to know when and where they’d show up . I heart freshly made churros. I think the best substitute version is the one at El Pollo Loco (don’t laugh). They fry them fresh to order (I’m sure dough is frozen but whatever) and their sugar cinnamon is pretty good.

    1. What other things are all the rage on Yelp? I strictly only use it as a source of finding what’s new or in certain areas. I don’t really pay attention to the rages and stuff. I can’t remember if I’ve ever had the El Pollo Loco churros but since I’m a churro snob now I’d probably sniff my nose up at it, just like Maya does. 😀

  2. Ooh, I want to go here. $3 for 7 LONG pieces is way better than $3 for 6 short pieces at the SY outlets. Glad you found this place and shared the info. Nice to know that their recipe is based on the original stand that is now defunct.

    1. Yeah, man, it felt like getting double the amount from the other place at the outlets! I thought these were a touch over-fried but the taste is very similar between the two spots. It’s always interesting learning a little history/behind the scenes stuff, eh?

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