Tenku Bakudanyaki – Richmond, BC

Tenku Bakudanyaki
7100 Elmbridge Way
Richmond, BC

May 2010 re-visit post here

Original post below:

So much has already been mentioned about this little trailer truck serving up an interesting treat which takes some cues from Japanese snacks such as takoyaki and okonomiyaki, that I’m not sure how much more I can add to what’s already out there in the blogosphere but here goes…

With some out of town visitors in tow, I thought I would share with them this unique place before our scheduled dinner in Richmond.  Only here for a sample tasting, we shared one order among the four of us and ate it standing up at the small upright table nearby.  Amused by the various tastes to be had, one of us said “let’s get the curry one”, and so it was.

Tenku (which means ‘sky’) and Bakudan (which means ‘bomb’) and Yaki (which means “roasting/baking/toasting” is a mouthful to say for most Canadians unfamiliar with the Japanese language, but I like how they’ve put the name together.  I do recall a dish in an izakaya in Tokyo that had a creation called a Natto Bakudan, which was essentially a mixture of smaller cuts of sashimi together with the fermented beans which was all layered over a bed of sushi rice, and so when I heard about this stand, I immediately thought of that concoction.

Even in the early evening light, it was hard to see anyone inside and it took a while before those of us in line realized there was a person in there (and not somewhere else taking a break or something).

Finally able to place the order, I was told precisely, “twelve minutes”.  Ok, so with that we just walked around the trailer a few times checking out the designs and menu signage and stood waiting as others came and went with their orders.

From a top down view into the serving box, which was one of those stereotypical Chinese fast food containers, it does not look all that appealing, and I even wondered, so where was that big ball that he was cooking on the grill top?  I think to help with the visual, as well as making it easier to eat the thing, the creators could try to design a shallower box, but that’s just my humble opinion.

The crispy ball resembling a giant takoyaki that you see on the cooker inside the trailer gets completely smothered by the curry sauce.  But surprisingly, it holds up somewhat and retains its “barrier” as you dig in and pierce it with the supplied plastic forks.  The creaminess of the mayo and curry sauce melded well, adding a great deal of richness to the creation.  Inside, mainly cabbage supplemented by an assortment of seafood pieces (squid, shrimp, fish cake being most prominent I thought).

With my guests being quite experienced and finicky eaters at times, I was a little worried that I’d brought the hype up about this place only to disappoint them immensely.  As luck would have it, they both enjoyed the creation, commenting on the richness of flavours and balanced impact all of the ingredients had together.  I myself thought it was pretty good too, though if there is a next time, I think I will try out their standard flavouring.

We thought of buying another to take home to another friend, but decided it would not taste good cold, and I totally believe that.  Ah well, another reason to make the trek out to Richmond and show another person what’s in store at this strange stand in the middle of a barren parking lot…

Tenku Bakudanyaki on Urbanspoon

2 thoughts on “Tenku Bakudanyaki – Richmond, BC

  1. Wow your curry mayo looks very rich…it looks like the almost put too much on. Mine looked different, but I ordered a different flavour.

    Yes these little guys are very rich. For me it’s something I would go back for, but I don’t really crave it or anything. I actually think I like the mini ones better than these big ones.

    • Indeed, it was a heavy coating. But as it was my first one, I didn’t have a frame of comparison, so interesting to note you’ve had lighter ones. I too would probably prefer a smaller variety.

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