Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Shoryumen & Fumisen (Richmond BC)

This post is brought to you by baby E, hereafter known as "(e)". (e) is an adorable three month old baby boy of my friend H. Doesn't he look Supercute? I only took a couple photos of him, but he was aware and looking at the camera for most of them.

When I wake up in the morning, I groggily check my email, facebook, and twitter. Yesterday, I logged on to twitter *right* as Jonnek1028 was tweeting about Tenku Bakudanyakis' "new friends", Shoryumen and Fumisen. Literally right after I tweeted back about wanting to visit the Elmbridge parking lot for lunch that day, I opened up a message on facebook from H about the same stalls. I decided then and there that I'd try them for lunch!

Shoryumen and Fumisen, following in the Tenku Bakudanyaki model, are yatai, or mobile food carts selling various hot foods. In this case, Shoryumen is a ramen stop, while Fumisen sells a variety of temaki, or what they call, "gourmet sushi cones".

Since I visited Tenku Bakudanyaki last, they've relocated about 10 meters north, and an inukshuk composed of shipping containers has been erected by the city of Richmond as a welcome to the Olympic tourists visiting the Olympic Oval which is a mere two blocks away.

When I *finally* got to the location (after circling a bit, and doing a couple u-turns on Gilbert road), I was greeted by H and (e) and after glancing around a bit, we entered the stall that is Shoryumen. Being that it was, essentially, a cart, I was impressed how sturdy it was and how the proprietor, Kan Odaka had accomplished a clean look by simple wood grain and black countertop. The intimate environment also allowed us to chat with him while we ordered and ate our ramen.

The customization is what is key in Kan`s budding yatai mura / food stall village. At Shoryumen, you can choose from four soup bases, including Kuro, a soy sauce-based soup, Aka, miso, En, sea salt, or Ton, rich pork stock. In addition to soup base, you may choose from a variety of toppings, including seaweed, bean sprouts, fishcake, egg, bamboo shoots, green onions, pork, corn, butter, cabbage, kimchi, black mushroom, pickled plum, garlic chips, and wild vegetables. Toppits are $1/each or $3 for four toppings. All orders come with seaweed, veggies and green onion; you may order additional noodles, vegetables, or meat for $2 extra.

I ordered the Ton soup base with fish cake and corn, while H ordered an Aka soup base with pork and corn. After learning that take out was available, (e) ordered a Ton ramen to go. You know, he was full from his milk-brunch that he'd had before. ;) Just kidding. (e) ordered it for his daddy!

(e) had the best seat in the house. That kids got VIP schmoozing skills man!

As mobile food carts can create a lot of waste, Shoryumen offers a solution - purchase a reusable bowl for only $2.25, or bring your own bowl in and they will take 50 cents off your order!

As for the ramen? It was done perfectly al dente, and the broth (I can only speak for the Ton) was rich and flavourful. As I stood there finishing my meal (I am one of the slowest eaters evaaar.), I decided that the "butter" topping made perfect sense - adding butter to the Ton soup base would make it decadently rich. Would someone like to accompany me in the near future? :)

H found her Aka soup base very flavourful as well. The pork in both cases was tender and added to the experience.

I cannot express how excited I am that there is an accessible ramen place that I can go to solo without feeling out of place. Yes, I know there are other ramen places in Richmond, but there are huge lineups and waits at those locations for lunch. I hope Shoryumen doesn't get *too* crazy busy in the next bit, I am hoping to make regular visits to satisfy my ramen pangs!

Fumisen is another "customize your meal" yatai.

You start by choosing from a nori / seaweed or soy crepe wrapper, then your rice. There are about eight proteins to choose from, and you can also select two extra "vegetable" toppings and from a selection of four sauces. So by my calculations, that makes for 10368 possible combinations! ...right? Please correct me if I'm wrong - it's been a while since I've done "real" math and although I aced math in high school, I just spent about ten minutes checking my math and I'm not sure I'm right. Help!

Edit: Thanks to Kim, the actual number of combinations available is 4608. Here's a curveball though. Notice how both H & myself got tobiko, apple and avocado? I guess if the chef is happy that day, there will be about 10752 possible combinations?

Here is (e) trying to make up his mind while looking at the Fumisen board. Decisions, decisions...

As Kan had suggested trying the apple topping to add texture and flavour to our sushi cone selection, and to try the soy crepe, we obediently did - on all three orders!

The man pictured above takes down your order (pen and paper - afterall, if anything, I think I pointed out that there are a LOT of combinations, yes?), then washes his hands and starts your order. Afterward, the cones are placed in the plastic holder above.

Pictured above: (1) Soy crepe, salmon rice, unagi, tobiko, apple and avocado with wasabi mayo for H, (2) Soy crepe, sushi rice, crab cake (kamaboko), tobiko, apple and avocado with wasabi mayo for me, and (3) Soy crepe, sushi rice, scallop, topiko, apple, and avocado and wasabi mayo for OH, Hs' hubs. Yes, I know...we're so original that we ordered the exactly same "veggie" toppings. :p It was good though - and although the cones were accompanied with a packet of soy sauce, it was unnecessary as the cones were flavourful enough.

Kan has big plans - plans to open a stall for eating / waiting, a dessert stall, as well as plans to open other yataimura in other locations. And Yum-O-Rama is looking forward to it!

Shoryumen, Fumisen, and Tenku Bakudanyaki

12831 Clarke Pl
Richmond BC
Twitter: @yatainoodles @bakudanyaki

Shoryumen on Urbanspoon Fumisen! on Urbanspoon Tenku Bakudanyaki on Urbanspoon

More photos at my flickr set.
A post in Chinese about Fumisen and Shoryumen at Sweet, I'm learning Chinese by osmosis! :)


  1. Awesome detailed post, thanks veeeeeery much!

  2. Thanks for the post. I will definitely try the ramen tomorrow lunch. Good tip on the bowl. I will bring my extra large bowl and hopefully it will be filled up with the flavourful soup.

    - Jonnek

  3. Thanks for tweeting about it Jonnek! Definitely recommended - I forgot to recommend bringing a soupspoon as well, unless you do not mind slurping from the bowl itself.

  4. Thanks for the tip! I've had a hankering for good ramen ever since my trip to Tokyo. I hope he plans on busting out those Japanese-style dessert crepes!

  5. Are there seatings? You said you stood there finishing your meal.

  6. Actually, there are 4608 possible combinations:

    2 * 2 * 8 * (9!/(2!(9-2)!)) * 4

    (That is assuming you are choosing two different items from step #4). In this case, for step #4, you used 9^2 rather than the possible combinations - n!/(k!(n-k)!). Remember, if you choose red pepper and avocado would be the same as avocado and red pepper!

    (Sorry, I know this is completely off-topic but the statistician part of me couldn't let it go!)

    In the end... Do I have to drive to Richmond to try this??? Why not open something similar without having to cross a bridge!!!

  7. Oh gee. I haven't even thought to go looking for this type of dining experience 'cause when we go to Richmond, we always end up at a Hong Kong Cafe. I'll have to remember this place next time! Yeah, it would be nice not to have to cross a bridge!

  8. Anonymous, there are no seats within the Shoryumen cart. They do have a waiting / eating area that is facing Shoryumen though. Apparently, the "Landlords" of the property have also installed Impark signs for the Olympics - perhaps dining in the car would be another option. :)

    KimHo, Thank you! Not off topic at all - I did want to know as I totally forgot how to solve the problem. :p Once a math geek, always a math geek (although the brain is a little rusty, apparently)! As for the bridge, I had *quite* a time finding the location again, even though I'd been there before. If you don`t mind walking a little, maybe the Canada Line would be an option? It's about 1km from the Lansdowne stop. ...I thought it was a must do though, so yes, please write about it!

    Cakebrain - I love HK cafes, but I'm excited about this as M doesn't particularly see the value in ordering ramen. Now I can have ramen any weekday as I'm already there for work! :D Love it!

  9. shoryumen looks like a great place to eat ramen! and i love the location. i totally wouldn't have known about it if it wasn't for this post, thanks for sharing!

  10. Hey Jessica :)
    Wow that parking lot is sure getting crowded. Your description of the ramen is making me drool. Time to schedule another visit!
    p.s. I think I can challenge you for the title of 'slowest eater evaar', my friends don't even let me talk when I go out to eat with them LOL

  11. This is the best post you've done! Thanks for posting about these two new carts. I love the Tenku cart and can't wait to try the other two.

  12. Steph: it is a nice quick stop for ramen and I work in Richmond, so I *love* it! Thank you for commenting!

    Phyllis: I accept your challenge! :) People wonder if I really enjoy food sometimes because I take so long to finish anything! It is getting crowded there - Kan has ideas for more development, but probably will not get to it until after the Olympics.

    Anonymous: Thank you for reading and commenting! I think I'm going to drop by again this week!

  13. You just made my day. I love G-Men (the gyoza king ramen shop on Cambie) but it's brutally busy. I'm totally going street style next lunch!

  14. Bozilla, that's *exactly* how I felt when I found out about Shoryumen. Love ramen, hate the lineups. Maybe Shoryumen will give those busier ramen shops a run for their money!

  15. Update: Tenku Bakudanyaki and friends will be moving to Clarke Road (south of Ikea) in Richmond. Closer to work for me!! I foresee many more trips for sushi cones and ramen!

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