So after a nice ramen lunch and a quick loop around the Richmond Ikea, “Monk” and I were feeling “kinda snacky” and we decided to go check out Tenku Bakudanyaki. [7100 Elmbridge Way, Richmond] By the time I get this posted, they will have moved to a new location, but I’m not 100% sure on the details. [12831 Clarke Pl., Richmond] I’ve got to be honest. I knew nothing about Tenku Bakudanyaki, had only caught a couple of words of half-coherent intel from “Godfather” and armed only with an address which I keyed into the GPS, off we went, to continue our day of Japanese cuisine exploration in Richmond.
When the GPS said we had arrived, I saw absolutely nothing that referenced Tenku Bakudanyaki. [TB for the rest of this post] I was “rubber-necking” around, wreaking havoc on the Richmond roads, propagating the stigma of “bad Asian drivers,” while at the same time completely ruining the good reputation of hybrid owners. Then suddenly, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of a couple of shiny trailers in a fenced off parking lot attached to ICBC. I hammered a high velocity U-turn, cut off a couple of hard-working taxpayers, was sworn at voraciously by an elderly lady and eventually jammed on the brakes at the front gate of the Japanese Food Village. To be perfectly honest, I’m really quite a good driver (don’t ask “Monk”) and generous artistic license was used in the previous paragraph to illustrate my desire to be the next Michael Bay.
OK, back to reality. I started getting a little excited, when I started putting together what I was seeing. I’m really not terribly bright and I finally realized that there were three food trucks, with three different kinds of Japanese offerings. There was TB, Fumisen Creative Sushi and Shoryrumen. I haven’t had too much food truck experience in my day, but I’ve been hearing a lot about the awesome food coming out of food trucks in LA and NYC. Here in Vancouver, my understanding is that food trucks are not allowed and though I have no idea what the legal issues are, I say bring on the street food and the food trucks. I’m a street food junkie and think Vancouver would be a much better place if we had a vibrant street food scene.
Because “Jazzy” was taking a nap, “Monk” went in first and did the first round of reconnaissance. When she came back, she told me to order a chicken omurice cone from Fumisen. She left the rest up to me and I decided to order a chili mayo bakudanyaki from TB. The chicken omurice cone was rolled to order and was composed of chicken, Japanese omelet, ketchup fried rice (???) and rolled in a soy wrapper. The bakudanyaki was one big fritter made up of assorted seafood, cabbage, quail egg and rice cake. It too was made to order and then it was topped with chili mayo, tonkatsu sauce, bonito flakes, seaweed sprinkles and some other stuff I’m sure I missed. I brought the gear back to the hybrid and we tucked in like a couple of “recently paroled inmates.” The chicken omurice cone was tasty, the flavors were very odd to me and though I would not have ordered it myself, it was quite enjoyable. The bakudanyaki was also super tasty. I’ve slowly become a takoyaki aficionado and bakudanyaki is like takoyaki on steroids and cocaine. Though “Monk” found the center to be a little too runny for her taste, I though the whole dish was hot, tasty and very intriguing. After finishing off these two items, “Monk” was still feeling “snacky,” so she picked up another cone from Fumisen filled with her choice of ebi gyoza, avocado, tobiko and chili mayo. I was a little disappointed with the texture of the gyoza in the cone, but overall, it too was interesting and tasty.
Issues and concerns; the bakudanyaki at TB could have been cooked a touch more and it would have been nice if I didn’t have to track down the girl working there. She was having a bowl of ramen at Shoryrumen and I do understand that sometimes, you just gotta eat. As for the cones at Fumisen, I love the concept of putting together whatever you want, but I found the rice to be a little wet and mushy, the seaweed was not toasty enough and the texture of the ebi gyoza in the hand-cone did not live up to my expectations. Overall, I love the concept of the Japanese Food Village and I will be back in the near future. I want to try Shoryrumen and though these trailers might be on the move, they’re now on my radar and I will find out where they end up next. Is it great food? No, but this is my kind of fast food and I’m going to have to do some research into what exactly is the “state of the union,” when it comes to Vancouver street food.
On my chef’s night out scale, Tenku Bakudanyaki receives 3/5 SOB (slices of bacon).
On my chef’s night out scale, Fumisen Creative Sushi receives 3/5 SOB (slices of bacon).