Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tenku Bakudanyaki (Richmond, BC)

I spend a lot of time on the road. My current commute is probably one of the shortest ones ever at thirty to fifty minutes, but when I worked my *longest* commute, I picked up some (cool and no-so-cool) habits.

When I worked in Maple Ridge, there was a great deal of morning activities that took place in the car. I learnt to utilize time at stoplights to put on make up. I started making phone calls (that you could only make during 8am-5pm) during the commutes. Since some of the commute to Pitt Meadows / Maple Ridge included waiting at bridges and/or traintracks, I even packed a book, and later, knitting projects that whittled away the time. And finally, I ate a lot in the car.

Sometimes they'd be snacks on the way home - granola bars, fast food, fruit. But mostly it would be breakfast on the way to work. Sure, breakfast bars and toast were easy, but where's the challenge in that?? No, I was a cold cereal with milk person. There's nothing that wakes you up in the morning other than the game of you against the law of physics.

I was reminded of my bad habits when I visited Tenku Bakudanyaki for a giant molten ball of *everything* from their location at Elmbridge & Gilbert in Richmond.

I'd been meaning to visit them ever since I read about them on Eat, Snap, Repeat, then later on Sherman's Food Adventures. Later reviews of Tenku have been popping up everywhere.

There were probably really big expectations for the product, which is why I have to clarify that the bakudanyaki at Tenku are not *exactly* like takoyaki, but rather, as Eat, Snap, Repeat puts it, "giant bombs".

Tenku has six bakudanyaki offerings, and each consist of a batter with cabbage, mochi, egg, shrimp, squid, octopus, and sausage cooked over a cast-iron mold. I ordered the special, which happened to be balsamic black sesame. It came in a cute stickered takeout box with a folded napkin tucked into one side, and a pair of chopsticks tucked into another. The special was an interesting combination, with the tart-sweet balsamic complementing the savoury of the fritter. The bakudanyaki, with a green tea drink cost me $7.

Here is where it should be noted that eating bakudanyaki in rush hour traffic is *much* harder than eating cereal in milk. Or rather, the gooey innards of a bakudanyaki! Eating it in traffic offered that much more "je ne sais quoi". You never really know what you're eating until you put it in your mouth - and sometimes, you still don't know!

I have to admit, the (small) food inspector part of me had some issues about the size of the fritters posing a problem with the items cooking properly. However, seeing as how the product was *still* super-hot after I took a number of photos, AND that I could almost hear the roof of my mouth sear off after blindly putting a chunk of bakudanyaki in my mouth, those fears have qualmed.

I do hope that Tenku makes it through this economy. I think they have a niche novelty product, and although it isn't for everyone, I'm sure a lot of people in Richmond (or visiting Richmond!) should give it a try.

Tenku Bakudanyaki

12831 Clarke Pl
Richmond, BC

Tenku Bakudanyaki on Urbanspoon

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