June 01, 2009 | | Comments 35

Tenku Bakudanyaki — Richmond’s Answer to Vancouver’s Japadog?

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 …

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… 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.

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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.

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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.

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The Bakudan Yaki is loaded with seven ingredients … cabbage, mochi, quail eggs, shrimp, squid, octopus and sausage.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

Tenku Bakudanyaki on Urbanspoon

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  1. ed says:

    Great review!
    Both funny and clever that you brought your own plates. The pics look great.

    I hope they find success and expand too. They’re delicious snacks.
    I went to watch “Up” on Saturday in Richmond and bought a couple boxes beforehand, snuck them into the theater, and enjoyed them while watching the previews. Best food I’ve ever eaten in a theater ;)

    Those cute takeout boxes do a great job at making a potentially messy snack super clean and fun.

    • Wendy says:

      Hey no need to be sneaky w/ the food anymore~ They’ve allowed outside food for a while now~ I used to work at Silvercity Riverport~!

    • Suanne says:

      He he he … when I placed my plates on their counter and asked that they place the Bakudan Yaki on in a certain way, at first the guy looked at me kind of funny.

  2. Isn’t that similar with the food they sell at Richmond Night Market takoyaki stand?

  3. ed says:

    Similar, but not the same.
    Takoyaki balls are the size of timbits.
    These things are the size of tennis balls.

  4. Chubbypanda says:

    I want some! I guess I’ll have to wait until the weekend to find something similar in LA or OC.

  5. Chubbypanda says:

    LMAO. I just realized that “Bakudanyaki” literally translated means “Grilled Explosives” or “Grilled Bombs”. Descriptive.

  6. Evelyn says:

    Is this different than takoyaki?

    • Christine says:

      Its just the shape that is similar to takoyaki. Similar to takoyaki, it is filled with some type (or types in this case) of seafood. In the bakudanyaki’s case, it is filled with seafood and meat along with cabbage (similar to okonomiyaki). However, what differs from bakudanyaki and takoyaki is that bakudanyaki is made with mocchi and not flour, which gives the bakudanyaki a crispier crust.

  7. orbiter says:

    A takoyaki upsized…

  8. alice says:

    omg, it’s time for me to move to vancouver right now. this is how we’ve been feeling about japanese food for a long time (that there’s so much more than sushi!). i want me a giant takoyaki!

  9. Jenny says:

    wow… it look so much nicer on a plate than in the box…

    I went there last weekend too, I wanted to try the pizza one, but end up eating the Special of the day. I am just wondering how does teh pizza one taste, given it’s tomato sauce.

  10. Jeffy says:

    I have seen this stand almost daily when I drive to/from work and I thought it’s just a coffee cart/stand. :)

  11. holly says:

    I’ve tried it and their giant takoyaki balls are very tasty. Be sure to ask for their frequent user card so you can get a free one (eighth bomb is free).

    Rumours are that they will be expanding their menu soon to include other items.

    I don’t mind that it’s in a parking lot because you don’t have to look for parking (at least for now).

    Can’t wait to check them out again.

  12. eViLpAnd4 says:

    Hi there just a quick comment on about the box they use. It’s true that the box does not do justice to the bakudan-yaki since you can’t really see it. However the box was found to be the best out of other choices of holders. Since bakudan-yaki is cooked into a ball form, putting it on a bowl/plate might cause it to roll around. Furthermore with the post earlier about the movie theaters, the boxes also makes it easier for those who can not eat it there, as space is limited and it works as a take-out/to go place.

  13. Elaine says:

    I was wondering if you guys know what their operation hours are? I can tell already (before trying) that it’s going to be one of my favourites!

    • Ben says:

      Hi Elaine:
      According to their website, Tenku Bakudanyaki is opened from noon to 9:00/9:30PM everyday.
      I am not sure if this reflects only their spring/summer hours though.
      Ben

  14. jeffy says:

    i finally went to this place over the weekend and it’s very good. kinda pricey ($5), but one ball is more or less equivalent to the little balls they sell at aberdeen food court which is also around $5 or $6.

    their hours right now is 12:30pm – 9:30pm.

  15. Will says:

    I love reading your blog and go to many places based on what I read here. Just went to Tenku Bakudanyaki last Sunday night (and then Aberdeen Center and night market in the same evening).

    Bakudanyaki are great! Even for the $6/$7 that they charge! I say this as I am a pretty cheap about eating pretty often. Wish I had read the comment about the frequent buyer card as there were 4 of us that day. So the next visit we could have gotten one free, or at least the one friend who works in Richmond could have gotten an advance stamping for when he eventually returns (which he said he would).

    At Aberdeen Center, yeah it’s a bit cheaper, but they don’t always make fresh. By the time my friends and I got to Aberdeen, they had stopped making fresh takoyaki and had a couple containers of takoyaki in the warmer until closing. We arrived between 5pm and 6pm. Even the one time before that I tried when they were relatively new, I didn’t care that much for them.

    Night market got smaller this year! Not that great selection there this year. Mostly the standard dim sum, with few other stuff. The Malaysian food stand that was there last there not there this year.

    Will try Ebisu or Simply Curry next! Thanks, again guys!

  16. [...] bombs!  Due to the high traffic at Night Market, I was unable to take a decent picture.  Visit Chow Time for some better looking photos. Here’s my poor [...]

  17. Simon says:

    I had an extended layover in Vancouver so I decided to checkout a few places as reviewed on your blog.

    The first was Tenku. There were a few people already waiting so a few more minutes was not going to hurt.., heck I was not in a rush. When he took my order, I decided on the Original. He advised it would be roughly 10 minutes.

    When I finally got my order, the cool chinese takeout box made it that much more enjoyable. I must say this was a very tasty item on a cool Thursday afternoon. It was hot and full of the goodies as listed on the signage. The combination of mayo and sauce was a great touch; it was sweet and tangy. Sadly after a few more bites, it was all gone.

    Thanks for doing a review of this otherwise, I would’ve never gone down that area.

  18. [...] Tenku Bakudanyaki — Richmond’s Answer to Vancouver’s Japadog? – 27 comments [...]

  19. [...] of you might remember that I blogged about Richmond’s answer to Vancouver’s Japadog last summer. That post generated quite an active discussion not only on chowtimes.com but a picture [...]

  20. Dan says:

    Have anyone able to find their new address ?
    I went to their old address on ElmbridgeWay + Gilbert and found they were gone. Search on google and found they moved to new address #140-12831 Clarke Pl, Richmond. Went there and although I found the right address, it was empty at unit #140, not renovated and door close. Didn’t see their truck outside either. Although their website said they were on vacation, but seems like they disappeared. I really want to try Bakudanyaki.

  21. [...] Richmond (OK discounting the ones in the Richmond Night Market). Here is my blog post about them: Tenku Bakudanyaki and [...]

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  23. [...] first heard about Tenku from a friend of ours and then ran across it on Chow Times and figure we’d give it a try. The area where Tenku resides actually has a total of 3 food [...]

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