Monday, July 13, 2009

Vancouver Street Food: Japadog & Tenku Bakudanyaki

Vancouver's not exactly known for a having a thriving street food scene (unlike NYC with its 3000 food carts). But in the last few years, this Japanese hotdog vendor has developed an impressive cult following. And these aren't your standard dirty water dogs - Japadog serves fat juicy wieners (smokies, bratwursts, even turkey and veggie dogs) slathered with Japanese condiments. There's just no stopping Japadog, they've just opened their 3rd location in downtown Vancouver!

The lunchtime lineup was at least 15 people deep when we arrived at their original location at Smithe & Burrard:

Hubby Kris and I had originally planned to try at least 2 of their "perkily perfect" hot dogs during our recent trip to Vancouver but alas, our stomachs were already stretched to their limits, nearing the end of our 12 day Vancouver poutine crawl, and having just overdosed on chocolate at Thomas Haas in North Vancouver. We ended up sharing Japadog's No 1 selling Terimayo Dog, topped with teriyaki sauce, Japanese mayo, fried onions, and nori. Instead of the traditional all-beef wiener, we opted to try their Kurobuta pork dog made from Berkshire hogs (#30 on Vancouver Magazine's 101 Things to Taste Before You Die):

Super juicy dog that 'snaps' when you bite into it, a little sweet from the drizzle of teriyaki sauce, little salty from the
umami-rich nori strips, rounded out nicely with creamy mayo. But a huge mess to eat on a windy day, I had seaweed strips stuck in my hair and teriyaki sauce and pork juice dribbling down my on my chin.

Can't wait to try the Oroshi (bratwurst, special soy sauce, grated radish. green onions) and Okonomi (Kurobuta pork, okonomi sauce, Japanese mayo, fried cabbage & bonito flakes) on my next visit.

For more on Japadog (including luscious photos of the dogs I didn't get to try), check out these awesome Vancouver bloggers:

Review: Japadog Lunch at Burrard & Pender at Ho Yummy
Japadog at Sherman's Food Adventures
Japadog Episode II: Pender & Burrard at eat snap repeat
Japadog - Burrard & Pender at I'm Only Here for the Food!

3 locations in downtown Vancouver:
Burrard & Smithe (in front of Sutton Place Hotel)
Burrard & Pender (in front of Scotia Bank)
Coal Harbour Community Centre
Check on their
website for hours of operation, they've been known to close down to due to inclement weather. Or follow Japadog on Twitter here.

Tenku Bakudanyaki
Located only a short drive from the Vancouver airport, in a desolate Richmond parking lot kitty-corner to Fitness World and populated with giant clay pots, you'll find a cute little
yatai (mobile food stall) selling bakudanyaki, giant Japanese fritters stuffed with no less than 7 ingredients.

Bakudanyaki are like
takoyaki on steriods, a little crispy on the outside, doughy and savory on the inside, topped with Japanese mayo and bonito flakes. From what I could tell, the main difference between the menu items are the flavored mayos drizzled on top. Having only a couple minutes, I asked the friendly cook to pick his favorite one for me, and he chose wasabi mayo. $5 for one bakudanyaki, packaged in a cute takeout container:

No time to eat it there - we were en route to our friend Ginger's house (actually kinda relieved I didn't have to eat it outside, those dancing bonito flakes would most certainly have ended up trapped in my big hair). A peak inside the container:

And right before it was dissected into pieces (and yes, it's as big as a chimpanzee!):

Sorry, forgot to take photos of the colorful doughy insides, we were in a rush to go out for dim sum (more eating -YAY!). But the bakudanyaki was filled with yummy surprises - a variety of colorful fish/seafood cakes, crunchy cabbage, ginger, even a quail egg! Topped with wasabi mayo, a sweet unagi type sauce, and those whisper-thin bonito flakes. Comforting, messy, and definitely fun to try!

For more about Tenku Bakudanyaki, check out these recent posts:

Tenku Bakudanyaki: Small venue, big balls at eat snap repeat

Review: Tenku Bakudanyaki at Yum-O-Rama: Where I Live to Eat!

And this one features a photo of the gooey insides:

Tenku Bakudanyaki at I'm Only Here for the Food!

Tenku Bakudanyaki

7100 Elmsbridge Way (corner of Elmsbridge and Gilbert)
Richmond, BC



KennyT said...

I've bookmarked this post(to be exact, all the posts about your Vancouver trip).

The food adventures you and Kris had in Vancouver have helped me drafted a rough itinerary already, gotta print all those pages out when I travel in Vancouver, yay!

That dog you had at Japadog is a killer!

I've only tried takoyaki before, bakudanyaki looks delicious to me, and it's huge, good for me greedy eater.

Jenn said...

I wish we had some of those here. I think I need to look super hard just to find something similar to those, if they do exist here!

Chow and Chatter said...

these look amazing

Anonymous said...

thank you for featuring a picture of me. that japanese snack ball was most delicious. sincerely, bobo, the chimp.

Heavenly Housewife said...

There is a little award for you on my most recent post daaaahling.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Hey, where did that monkey come from? :D I think someone came to steal something off your plate. I wonder who that could be?

Phyllis said...

Kenny: Thanks so much Kenny! I'm so glad that you are enjoying my Vancouver adventures, despite the fact that I'm almost 2 months behind in my posting. And yes, size does matter :)

Jenn: I'm willing to bet you can make up something similar with ingredients in your pantry. If all fails, you've always got Pinks!

Chow and Chatter: They were totally fun to try. Next time I'll make sure I go with an emptier stomach!

Anonymous a.k.a Bobo the Chimp: I didn't know chimpanzees could read!?

Heavenly Housewife: Aw...shucks, thanks so much for the award! And if you wanted some of that bakudanyaki, all you had to do was ask :)
p.s. you'd better not let Bobo the Chimp hear you call him a 'monkey', he's prone to having fits

Teanna said...

Oh I LOVE reading about your foodie escapades! Those Japadogs look out of CONTROL! AMAZING!

gigi said...

Mmm...reading your post about Japadog makes me want to go for lunch there today! :p

The next time I go, I want to try the Okonomi dog...I like okonomiyaki so it must be just as good in hot dog form!

Phyllis said...

Teanna: Thanks! The japadog was pretty darn good!

Gigi: The Okonomi looks really good - I'm so jealous you might be having it for lunch :) Maybe it's a good thing I don't live there because I probably would go there everyday (that and the poutine would do me in for sure!)

momgateway said...

awesome finds!

oysterCulture said...

oh my I want to try each and every one they all looked so good!! You're killing me.

Phyllis said...

momgateway: thanks for visiting! cool blog!

OysterCulture: It's killing me that I'm no longer in Vancouver :)

Tangled Noodle said...

I finally discovered what could very well be the only gourmet food truck in all of the Twin Cities and you bring on Japadog! Then, I'm still trying to figure out where I can find takoyaki and you hit me with bakudanyaki. I'm at "Infant" level on the foodie cred rating compared to you.

But, gurl, where do you put all this food?!

Phyllis said...

Tangled Noodle: LOL - I've never been one of those 'skinny girls' but I guess part of my secret is that I split everything with hubby so we can try more stuff. It also helps to wear sweat pants ;)
So...a gourmet food truck in the twin cities? Another reason to visit your neck of the woods! And you are far too kind with your comments - you're so high on the foodie cred scale, I often look to YOUR blog for foodie guidance!

Anonymous said...

The guy who started japadog was a former ad salesman

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