Tenku Bakudanyaki had moved to #140-12831 Clarke Pl, Richmond; updated on 3rd May 2010. See video below for the new location.
I don’t know.
I think over the past year, Metro Vancouver had just discovered Japanese cuisine beyond just sushi and maki. It had been the rage these days to be seen having Ramen instead of wonton noodles. No more sushi too — that is so passe. You must tell everyone you are going to a Izakaya. Beer? Drink sake instead.
Even the humble hotdog too had a renaissance of sorts. All thanks to Japadog with its amazingly long lines for a taste of the Japanese hot dog. Where Vancouver has its Japadog, Richmond, not to be left out, now has …
… Bakudan Yaki. Oh yeah, Richmond cannot be left out of this craze for Japanese food.
Tenku Bakudanyaki is operated on a virtually empty parking lot on the intersection of Gilbert and Elmbridge Way. This is a quiet stretch in Richmond and quite out of the way to most people.
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Yet over the past few weeks, word of this new Japanese food truck had spread far and wide like wild fire.
Bakudan Yaki is basically fritters made into a ball and then topped with an assortment of sauces and seasonings. The above is their Original Bakudan Yaki. I don’t know what the brownish topping is but it tasted like okonomiyaki sauce. It is also topped with Japanese mayo and bonito flakes.
Tenku Bakudanyaki operates out of a single trolley and needed only one power connection and one person to run the entire operation. At the time we were there, it was still early. They got only one grill going but I was told that at peak times, they can turn on all seven grills to keep up with demand.
Watching him make the Bakudan Yaki is quite interesting — seeing how the batter is turned into a large ball. The process is simple but it takes quite a long time to make one from scratch.
The Bakudan Yaki is loaded with seven ingredients … cabbage, mochi, quail eggs, shrimp, squid, octopus and sausage.
It is a symphony of flavours with each of the ingredients complementing each other on taste and texture. It was awesome and lives up to its hype. I must say that it was also kind of hard to handle because of its size and shape.
Each Bakudan Yaki costs 500 cents — that’s what they say, 500 cents and includes taxes too. No taxes, neat huh?
We also tried the Pizza Bakudan Yaki. All the Bakudan Yaki are the same except for the toppings selected.
Can you see the cabbage and shrimp in it? The entire ball is loaded with ingredients with the batter just holding the whole thing together.
Well, we brought our own plates because Tenku serves the Bakudanyaki in a takeaway box like these. We had seen many pictures of Bakudan Yaki out of the boxes and the pictures does not do justice to them.
I felt that it was kind of impractical to use deep boxes because firstly you could not see the entire goodness of all the ingredients and secondly, it is kind of hard to pick up the pieces with a chopstick.
The verdict is out … only time will tell if draw of Bakudan Yaki could last beyond the initial hype. I sure hope they will. I think they need a better location and the Richmond City Hall should help them secure one … like on the parking lot of Lansdowne Mall. Now that will draw lines likes the Japadog, wouldn’t it?