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.
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:
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:
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:
And this one features a photo of the gooey insides:
7100 Elmsbridge Way (corner of Elmsbridge and Gilbert)