Shoryumen and Fumisen and Bakudanyaki Food Trucks in Richmond

Updated on 10th July 2010: The Shoryumen, Fumisen and Bakudanyaki Food Trucks have moved to 8740 Charles St. See video below for new location.

Alright.

Some 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 from that post also made it into a discussion thread on chowhound.

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The unflattering picture of a half-eaten bakudanyaki became the focus of the Most Frightening Food You Have Seen Lately discussion thread. When I took that picture above, the only thing I was thinking of was how delicious it was. But on hindsight, I guess the Bakudanyaki does look rather frightening.

That one and only street food stall in Richmond has since grown …

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It is now THREE food trucks. I had wanted to earlier name this post “Vancouver 1 – Richmond 3” but decided otherwise because it will inflame the Vancouver area food bloggers.

But seriously, I think Richmond is going to blaze the way in terms of promoting street food. Richmond is going to show Vancouver that it is alright to sell street food other than hotdogs.

In addition to the Tenku Bakudanyaki food truck, they have expanded to selling ramen and sushi cones too. They are still at the same location — at the intersection of Gilbert Road and Elmbridge Way.

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The Richmond food trucks are easier to locate now. It is just next to that Inukshuk which is fashioned out of containers. Someone apparently thought it is a great idea to put that up in support of the Olympics. Good thing they did not paint it in the colors of the Vancouver 2010 logo or else VANOC will be going after them.

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These food trucks are making news. Even the CBC were there doing an interview with the man behind all these food trucks when we were there.

*gasps* We are getting identified. While waiting for the interview to finish, the assistant of the CBC interviewer turned to me and asked “Are you chowtimes?” LOL!

I was kind of surprised, right? So my first reaction is “Yes, but how did you guess?”. Apparently she recognizes Suanne, Arkensen and Nanzaro. 🙂

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The man behind the three food trucks is Kan. He came across to me as energetic and brimming with ideas. While he was making the ramen for us, I asked him some question. He was excited  and wanted to tell the world the plans he had in mind and yet he held back being specific about them. He said three times how little time he has to implement his plans.

From my conversation with Kan, I can clearly see that this young man is not going to stop expanding anytime soon.

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We decided to try two bowls of Ramen. These are simple ramens.

Ordering is simple. You just choose one of the soup base you want. Kan said that he only have the Kuro, Aka and En ramen for now. The more expensive Ton ramen is not available until February 9th. That Ton is interesting because he said he is limiting that to only 20 bowls a day because of space and time constraints.

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Each of the ramen comes with … the basic topping of seaweed, veggies and green onions.

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You can get extra toppings for about $1 each. So actually if you think about it, it is not exactly cheap.

One of the noodles is $5.75. If you add the 4 for $3 toppings, you are looking at $9 already.

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The noodles was delicious. We had the En (seasalt) and the Kuro (classic soy sauce). While they look alike, both of them tasted uniquely different. We like the Kuro better.

The bowl is kind of small though, considering that you get monstrous bowls of ramen in many ramen shops in Metro Vancouver for about the same price.

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We eat standing up by the counter. We were given only the bowl and the chopsticks. I asked for a spoon for the soup but they don’t have it.

You eat the ramen exactly like they way they do in the micro ramen shops in Japan. You take the bowl in your hands and slurp the noodles and soup in front of the chef. And you have to slurp LOUDLY too. Serious. Doing this is telling the chef how good his ramen is.

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They try to cut down on waste. So if you want to save 50 cents bring your own bowl. I think it’s a marvelous idea. But then I was thinking how many people will actually bring their own bowl.

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The little food truck is a bit small. If you have like 6 people in that ramen food truck, no one will be able to get in anymore.

So they have a small hut by the side where you could go in and eat there.

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Well, don’t expect chairs and tables here. It is also a stand up eating place. At least it is more spacious here and protects you from the elements during bad weather.

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After the Ramen, we went to try the sushi cones. They call this Fumisen.

That gentleman who was manning this food truck was super friendly. This is necessary because for the uninitiated, it could get confusing at a glance.

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Actually it is not as complex as it seems. It is a five step selection. I guess the difficult part is figuring out your combination — that takes a bit of thinking.

I don’t know what Arkensen did right. The gentleman in the food truck gave him a choice of THREE instead of two on “Step 4”. He did not give us that special treatment.

If my math is still correct, I think there are a total of 15,552 possible combination here. You think it is right?

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We got two cones. The first one is with the nori wrap. Each one costs $3.50. I guess it is kind of OK price-wise.

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With a touch of soy sauce, it tasted good. Just a drop or two is more than enough.

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We all like the yellow soy crepe better. It is unique.

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This is at best a snack. Two of this will perhaps make a nice light lunch. It is tasty and it is fun.

One thing that Kan did tell us though … he will be expanding by one more food truck by March. The new one will be selling Japanese desserts. I have a strong feeling there will be more coming over the next few months.

So the street food variety score now is Vancouver 1 Richmond 3. Normal hotdog stands does not count here; only Japadog counts for Vancouver alright?

Within the next two months, it will be Vancouver 1 Richmond 4 with the addition of the dessert truck.

Wait! It could well be Vancouver 0 Richmond 4. This is because Japadog is setting up a full on restaurant one of these days (see here).

No wait! It could well be Vancouver 0 Richmond 50+ if you take into account the food stalls from the Richmond Night Market coming this spring.

Oh yeah … Vancouver, you could learn a few things from Richmond. LOL!

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Just a stone throw away from the food trucks, are the now infamous Biennale sculptures. Of all the sculptures that the Biennale folks could place in Richmond, they had to put this one in the Chinese Republic of Richmond.

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But of course they had to do this right?

The more controversial the sculpture is, the more successful it is.

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To the Mainland Chinese, they consider this inappropriate the way Mao is depicted — as a cartoonish little girl perched on top of Lenin. The Chinese Consulate complained about this too.

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This sculpture attracted some vandalism but so far it was nothing serious. When I was there, there were mud splattered on Lenin’s face.

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Frankly, for me I don’t care because I was not born in Mainland China.

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the picture I took …

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Tenku Bakudanyaki on UrbanspoonFumisen! on UrbanspoonShoryumen on Urbanspoon

This Post Has 0 Comments

  1. Jonnek

    I wanted to try the ramen but thinking about it, it becomes more expensive than G-men ramen with the additional toppings. At slightly less than 9 bucks at G-men you get a big bowl of noodle and you sit down and get served. I don’t know if its worth it. Probably the price point should be around 6 dollars (with the toppings). (Is it getting obvious that I’m a cheapskate? lol. I also complained about Chef Hungs 11 dollar noodle.)

    1. Ben

      No, you are right, Jonnek. I had the same thoughts too. Street food is meant to be cheap. I think Kan priced it too high. At that price it will not fly for long. Note that you don’t even get meat in the $6 soup AND you don’t have a place to sit too. The food is good but it has to be made cheaper. My thoughts!

  2. Marike

    Hmm, I hope that if Kan decides to open a restaurant that the food will not be Chef Hung priced!

  3. Jessica

    Great post! I didn’t know that the Lenin sculpture was nearby, I will have to look for it when I drop by this week.

    It does get a little expensive. But I think the experience is worth it. I was really impressed by their respect to food – there are small hot water tanks within each cart, stainless steel sinks, and the product is made fresh. I think in that aspect, I’d score Richmond +10 points as I have never seen a YVR cart with anything CLOSE to that! 🙂

    When my friend ordered a “to-go” ramen, Kan asked us to let him know when we were close to leaving so that he could time the doneness of the noodles.

    Kim worked it out to 4608 possibilities (from the menu board)…but for your special son, (or when the man is feeling friendly!) I think there are 10752 possibilities? I guess we’ll wait for Kim (resident statistician / math wonder) on this.

    Have you tried Aoyama Cafe? I’ve heard mixed reviews but would love Chowtimes’ take!

    1. Ben

      Hi Jessica:
      I have heard about Aoyama and was there the day before they opened. I should check it out someday but as much as I want to do this earlier, it is simply impossible given all the commitments and backlog of writing I have right now. Glad you like the need food carts.
      Ben

  4. Jonnek

    I think I will try the ramen. I will definitely bring my own big soup bowl and a soup spoon. And maybe a lawn chair. 🙂

    1. Ben

      Hey, good idea bringing a big bowl. Can you tell us if he will fill the bowl for you? If he does, maybe I’ll go back with a basin and do a fun blog about it. LOL!

      1. jonnek

        Sure Ben. I will post a picture of it in twitter if he does fill it up. I’ll wait till after Feb 9 though to get the tonkatsu soup.

  5. Nancy

    Ben

    What are his hours of operation? I like that he is close enough for me to drive down and grab a bite to eat.

    1. Ben

      Hi Nancy: They are opened from 11:30AM to 8:00PM everyday except for Mondays when they are closed.
      Ben

  6. Thanks for the heads up! Street food is the way to go! Sometimes one just wants a quick bite… and going into a restaurant is a big production. So I guess Richmond does make it easier for food trucks to operate? Vancouver sucks! (I can say that because I live in Vancouver. LOL.)

    Hopefully there will be other (non-Japanese) food trucks around soon. Just my personal preference.

    Yeah, we alwaysw see that big Lenin head with a little person on top. Didn’t know the little girl was supposed to be Mao. She’s cute. ;D

  7. el_lobo_solo

    I wish Vancouver could be more like Portland, OR. Their food truck culture is amazing. Richmond’s on the right track.

  8. trisha

    i want to make my own sushi cone! i’m definitely going there next time i’m in richmond.

  9. Ed Lau

    I’ve been wanting to go for some time but keep forgetting.

    LOL that CBC reporter is my friend Elaine.

  10. All of these things are so cool! I get the Lenin and Mao sculpture. I wish LA had ramen and sushi roll carts! The reporter should have known your name already since it’s almost on every post on the author spot :).

    Never have seen yellow soy paper yet though. Have seen white, but have never tried either.

  11. Joyce

    Oh wow, the food trucks sure look intriguing!! I want to give it a try too!

    The ramen bowls do look kinda small, though, for the price you’re paying. I like how they add some Japanese food culture in there and make you slurp loudly!

  12. Jame

    Thanks Ben for this post! I work nearby and would love to head there for lunch one day. Do you know if they are open during lunch?

    1. Suanne

      Hi Jame: Shoryumen are open for lunch at 11:30AM. They are closed every Monday.

  13. Kenrick

    Good post Ben! I was just there on Saturday. The food was good and ambitious, although the price is bordering a little on the high side.

  14. iPanda

    I had their wasabi giant taco ball before; they taste great but too bad it’s not so convenient for me to head there.

    http://www.ipanda.ca

  15. Bradly

    I think Chef Hung’s noodle is cheaper than this street ramen, considering at Chef Hung you get a much bigger bowl with lots meat and noodles, comfortable seating, decor, service, and indoor parking (great for raining days).

    If you want to add toppings and double size your ramen to make it the same portion like Chef Hung, it will cost you $11 or more. And that is without sitting down, getting served, decor, and indoor parking.

    I don’t think we should encourage this kind of pricing. It will just make all other vendors follow their lead and make dining out overpriced and more expensive for nothing (not better quality of food).

    Price should always be based on many factors such as
    1. ingredients (are they expensive ingredients or very common?),
    2. location (nice location or dingy corner),
    3. decor (is it a hole in the wall or well decorated? is it clean?). You can’t really charge people double just because YOU THINK you make the best noodles. You are supposed to make very tasty dishes (whatever you are selling) you are confident about to beat out the competition. It’s the basic quality to survive in food business.

    1. Suanne

      Hi Bradly: I am very sure market forces will dictate the prices. Time will tell whether places like Chef Hung or Shoryumen will succeed in the long run.

  16. grayelf

    I live the soy paper option on the cones. I’ve had it at Zipang Sushi on Main as well.

  17. grayelf

    Of course that should have said “I like”… oops.

    1. Ben

      I live or I like — they both carry the same meaning to me! 🙂

  18. Kan

    Hi everyone,
    Thanks for all your precious input!
    I just stumbled across This thread and yes I am the owner of Shoryumen.
    As for one of the comments about my pricing,
    Quality of the ingredients…
    My family has always been in the food industry and I can proudly say that I use better quality ingredients than most restaurants.
    The pork meat I use is a premium grain fed pork loin.
    The noodle is a custom noodle ordered from Sanfran CA.
    The Soup ingredients all imported from Japan (except for the local veggies I use to add sweetness to my stock made every morning)
    The bowl is a made in Japan bowl (despite the look of the size it is 90% to full size) This is one of the reasons I encourage the use of MY BOWL (bring your own bowl) Human perception is so poor…Plus if I used a cheap large white Styrofoam bowl, than what would have people said then about pricing :p
    The cost of the ingredients and operating cost makes Shoryumen’s noodle pricing. The Ramen house has no seats because I wanted to recreate the standing ramen just like in the train stations in Japan.
    Basic noodle soups are 5.75
    four toppings for 3 dollars
    taxes are included in the price
    So
    $8.75 gets you full topping of what you want and includes tax!!

    BRADLY commented

    I think Chef Hung’s noodle is cheaper than this street ramen, considering at Chef Hung you get a much bigger bowl with lots meat and noodles, comfortable seating, decor, service, and indoor parking (great for raining days).

    If you want to add toppings and double size your ramen to make it the same portion like Chef Hung, it will cost you $11 or more. And that is without sitting down, getting served, decor, and indoor parking.

    I don’t think we should encourage this kind of pricing. It will just make all other vendors follow their lead and make dining out overpriced and more expensive for nothing (not better quality of food).

    Price should always be based on many factors such as
    1. ingredients (are they expensive ingredients or very common?),
    2. location (nice location or dingy corner),
    3. decor (is it a hole in the wall or well decorated? is it clean?). You can’t really charge people double just because YOU THINK you make the best noodles. You are supposed to make very tasty dishes (whatever you are selling) you are confident about to beat out the competition. It’s the basic quality to survive in food business.

    So…
    1. My ingredients pass…..
    2. Location is OK…
    3. Decor…I built it with my own two hands so I like the decor…but I don’t want to pay for decor if I was out for a bite to eat…
    I don’t intend to make or claim to make the best noodle, just good and I just want people to enjoy themselves when they are at the food carts.
    Of-course the food should be good but its the interactions that I enjoy with this business.

    Thank you all for your informative comments again.
    Kan Ogata

  19. Really

    Highly doubt the ingredients pass.

    “Each of the ramen comes with … the basic topping of seaweed, veggies and green onions”

    Is it hard to find good quality pork, seaweed, local veggies and green onions with good price? You can find them without trouble and they are not such a big deal. Outsourcing wholesale noodles to San Fran means noodles are not top quality freshly made. It takes many days for the noodles flying from USA to get here. Many good ramen houses in Vancouver make fresh noodles everyday.

  20. DylanK

    I checked it out today, had some bakudanyaki and ramen. On the ramen price, I ain’t mad at that. Dude is not going out of business or anything over a 6 dollar bowl of ramen:

    1) It’s Richmond. People are cruising over in 7-series Beamers to buy their ramen. 2) It ain’t a slice of pizza. I bet he could sell it for two bucks if he bought a big ol’ pack of Mr. Noodle at Superstore and broke out the styrofoam bowls. He’s obviously putting some effort into that bowl of ramen and providing some sort of atmosphere. 3) Add a little bit of a novelty tax. 4) Shoot, I’ll even overpay for stuff like this, if it means someone else will see that truck and say, “Hey, let me get my own food trailer going and make a buck selling good quality food.” Anyways, me and my girl said we’d definitely be back, bringing our bowls with us for that fifty cents off.

    My one complaint: it barely qualifies as street food, to me, since I had to hike five darn minutes off a main road to get to it. I’m sure the proprietors would love a more central location with a bit more pedestrian traffic. It was pretty quiet there this Friday afternoon. It’d be dope if it was in the Landsdowne Mall parking lot or somewhere like that, so I could hop off the train, eat a bowl, keep going.

    1. Ben

      I know this is not going to happen anytime soon, not in my lifetime anyway. But I think they should just cordon off the one area in Richmond and make it a permanent street food area (not like night market but have proper tables/chairs), like they do have glutton squares in Asia. This will project Richmond overnight as the food destination of North America. Imagine if this is located, say, on the east side of Lansdowne Mall or something, it will instantly rejuvenate the area into a bustling place at night. He he he … it will instantly suck all the customers away from the BBT joints instantly. Ah … but that is still a dream. There are simply too many obstacles to overcome before this become a reality. The Japanese food trucks here is planting the seed towards that direction. Not everyone would want to see this but I think we will be surprised how many people will support it. I miss the glutton squares in Asia.

      1. fmed

        I love the idea! And they should call it Glutton’s Square (like in Singapore).

        The closest thing we have here in North America are the food cart zones in Portland.

      2. jonnek

        Amen to that. A permanent night market food area in Richmond.

  21. Canto Curious

    Wow! The decor is excellent and high classed. Now I know where I would go to propose to my girlfriend! Do you think she will say yes?

    1. Ben

      Well Canto Curious … that all depends on your girlfriend. You know her better than we all do. Good luck on your proposal and let us know how it all goes, OK? LOL!!!

  22. Bikki

    I tried the Ramen last Friday. I read the food review. Bring your own bowl and save 50 cents.
    and their bowl is very small. so I highly recommend that you bring your own bowl and so you can get more soup haha..

    The basic soup base noodles is $5.75 each , 4 toppings for $3 or 1 topping for $1 , so it end up for $8.75 (if you didn’t bring your own bowl)

    I saw another customer got the same stuff using their bowl.. it was over packed in that small bowl…

    I picked the Kuro soup base w/ 4 toppings on top. (pork, bamboo shoots, corns, fish cake)
    I bought my own bowl and the chef gave us more soup to make it more presentable…
    The chef only put 1 scoop of soup in their small bowl, but becoz we use our own bowl and it’s a bit bigger, so he put 2 scoops of soup in our bowl.. haha.
    I like their soup base because it’s not as oily as those Kintaro’s soup base.
    After we are done with the noodles, the chef will rinse our bowl for us.

    In a way, we think that the owner is very smart becoz he put the utensil expenses on customer.

    After talking with the owner, he told us that he only own the bandanyaki and the ramen cart, the sushi chef own the mix&match sushi cone cart .. and he told us that he will expand another cart to serve —- desserts!!! I will definitely give it a try when they open the new dessert cart! ^^

    It’s a cool experience to eat ramen in a cart… haha..

  23. Casey

    Shoryumen is definitely better than G-men. I totally prefer to pay quality price for a quality bowl of noodles! Fumisen and Tenku both kick ass too. God they’re all so fresh and flavourful in the mouth.
    Did you know the Fumisen chef actually works at Torarenbo in Richmond too? haha While I was in Shoryumen he walked in and I kept thinking this guy looks really familiar!

    1. Casey

      Oh and bringing your own bowl is a bonus. The first time we went we saw someone do it. So we brought ours the next time around too.

    2. Ben

      Hah. Really, Casey? Next time I am in Torarenbo, I am going to check for myself and say hi to him. BTW, your pictures on your blog is stunning. Gotta learn from you!
      Ben

  24. S L

    I was just here yesterday, and the 3 carts are moving to Clarke Place in Richmond (closest cross street is Jacombs Road)

    They say it will be a in-door location

    1. Ben

      You were there yesterday? I was there yesterday too! They told me they are moving on May 1st. I think that new location sucks. It will cater to the people working in the industrial zone but I think not many people will drive all the way to Clarke Place which in the middle of nowhere. Moving the trailers indoors defeats the whole purpose of calling this street food. Am going to wait and see how this looks like come May 1st. But at this time it seems like its a major step backwards.
      Ben

  25. grayelf

    Ben, what you said. Very disappointing.

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