Japadog [VFBM] – Food Cart/Hot Dog, Vancouver

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Japadog – The famous Japanese hot dog that started the food cart revolution in Vancouver. The foodies from the Food Bloggers Meetup decided to make this the 3rd stop during our Food Cart Crawl.

I have heard about Japadog, and passed by the cart many times, but I have never tried one. I admit, I am not a big fan of hot dogs and I refused to give in to the hype, until this day.

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We visited the store on Robson, which opened in 2010. Visiting a “food cart store” made it much easier to share street food during the Food Cart Crawl in this cold weather.

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Menu on the outside

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Menu inside the store

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We got a combo to share. In this combo there are:

  • an Okonomi Japadog – Kurobuta sausage topped with bonito flakes
  • butter & shoyru fries – butter and soy sauce flavoured fries. It is $2.39 by itself
  • a can of soft drink

The combo costed $9.14 before tax.  Of course I had to order something sweet beside the combo, so we also ordered a Kurogoma Age Ice – sesame ice cream on fried buns ($2.99).

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We all ate the ice cream sandwich before it started melting. The bun tasted like Chinese fried bun, which is essentially the same thing. The ice cream was less sweet than I anticipated. I think adding condensed milk drizzles would make it look and taste more appealing, at least for someone who has a big sweet tooth like me.

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I have heard of shaker fries in McDonald’s in Asia, but I have never tried them. These were surprisingly good! These fries tasted a little salty and cheesy, and they were fresh. For $2.39 I would pick Japadog’s shaker fries over any fast food’s fries.

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Like any other hot dog stand, you can add as much condiments as you’d like.

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After I tried 1/4 of the japadog, my impression was – Japadog was really just a dressed-up hot dog. The Kurobuta sausage tasted almost identical to a Taiwanese sausage. It was good to finally try one, only to know that I was right with my prediction.

  • butter & shoyru fries
  • sesame ice age
  • having street food in a store

  • hot dogs 😐
  • the price of everything altogether ($13.59 for all the food shown above)
  • Japadog tasted like the one I made at home

I have made Japadogs at home before (See Picture), so I certainly have a higher expectation when I pay for something that is easy to make at home. The Okonomi japadog did not impressing me much. Perhaps other innovative flavours like seafood japadogs at the Waterfront will be better? I am actually looking forward to trying those at the next Food Cart Crawl with Food Bloggers.

For folks that like hot dogs and want something different at lunch time in Downtown, this could be one of your options. Just be aware that a lunch combo costs about $10 after tax, which is almost at the same price as many lunch specials in Downtown. Japadog is definitely not my cup of tea, because my idea of street food = cheap food. The Taiwanese “small sausage in large sausage” is more like my type of food. I hope you enjoyed my honest review of the famous Japadog!

Japadog (Robson Store) on Urbanspoon

Japadog
www.japadog.com
530 Robson St

-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny

Fresh Local Wild [VFBM] – Food Cart/Seafood, Vancouver

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Fresh Local Wild was the second stop of the Food Cart Crawl, organized by the Food Bloggers Meetup. This is a food cart that offers local sustainable fresh food, such as Albacore Tuna Melt Sandwich, Chicken Fried Oyster Sandwich, Fish and Chips, sashimi, fries and poutine. Compared to other food carts, Fresh Local Wild’s menu items are priced higher because of their focus and concept.

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Chicken Fried Oyster ‘Po-Boy’ ($10) – Sawmill Bay jumbos, trailer made tartar, sesame seed bun

Foodies MaxwellJeffrey, and Edwin and I shared a chicken oyster sandwich and fries. Although I do not eat oysters, I was fine with the decision because the others really wanted to try the oyster sandwich. The fries need to be ordered separately as they do not come with the sandwich.

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The sandwich was a lot smaller than what I expected. For the price of $10, I thought it would be at least the size of a Tim Hortons sandwich. I took a very tiny bite into ¼ piece of the sandwich, but I could not handle the oyster taste. It was like fear factor because I was never fond of oysters! 😐

Fear factor -Jenny chomping an oyster sandwich

I know several restaurants have oyster happy hours which let you get $1.25~1.5o a shuck. So I thought this sandwich was really pricey given its size.

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However, I tried the fries ($3) and they were really good! They were fresh, crispy and tasty even without ketchup or seasoning. I personally prefer crispy, thin fries with skin as opposed to soft, thick, and skinless fries. I would say Fresh Local Wild’s fries are comparable to Costco’s fries. Note that the staff at Local Fresh Wild was nice to us and gave us extra fries. Normally you would get the burger and fries in the big container altogether, so you don’t get as much fries as shown above.

The foodies who tried the sandwich said that the sandwich was alright. I personally would not spend $13 for a combo of a sandwich and fries, when there are many restaurants and food carts in downtown.

Stay tuned for the final stop at the Food Cart Crawl #1, brought to you by Food Bloggers Meetup!

Fresh Local Wild (Food Cart) on Urbanspoon

Fresh Local Wild (Food Cart)
http://freshlocalwild.com
@freshlocalwild
Burrard St & W Hastings St

-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny

Osa Tako Hero [VFBM] – Japanese/Takoyaki, Vancouver

Thanks to Twitter, I found out about Osa Tako Hero, the takoyaki food cart which opened earlier this year. Besides Osa Tako Hero, there were many food carts that I wanted to try. I organized a meetup with the Food Bloggers Meetup Group (aka Food Club) so other people who were interested in trying different food carts could join me.

Foodies at this Food Cart Crawl: Maxwell, Jeffrey, and Edwin.

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Osa Tako Hero’s menu is presented in a creative way. The menu came with graphics and descriptions of the ordering instructions “Creating Osa Takoman” in a RPG style. I thought it was a really cute way to make the menu, which showcased the creative Japanese design/style. Even the website is made in a Japanese style!

Essentially, you choose the number of octopus balls (5, 7, or 10), then the sauce (regular takoyaki or spicy), and finally the topping (cheese, curry, seaweed, bonito flakes, and maple syrup). Then you would get seaweed powder, takoyaki sauce and mayo added on top of the octopus balls.

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We opted for all 5 flavours plus spicy sauce on the side, the best way to try every flavour. I tried the maple syrup, bonito flakes and curry flavours.

The average price of takoyakis is about $5 for 6 takoyaki balls at night markets and izakayas. Osa Tako Hero, which gives you 10 octopus balls for $5.99, is the best choice to get the most bang out of you buck!

After trying Osa Tako Hero’s takoyakis, this place became my favourite takoyaki place in Vancouver.

I like the variety of flavours, generous amount of toppings and sauce, the price, and most importantly there were about 3 pieces of octopus in each octopus ball! It is really rare because takoyakis from night markets and izakayas, usually have just one piece of octopus in each takoyaki.

Though one thing will make these takoyakis even better – freshness. These takoyaki balls were pre-made and re-heated to reduce the waiting time at the food cart, which is reasonable. I personally love fresh takoyakis because of the crispy shells. So, the next time I visit, I would request fresh takoyaki even if I have to wait longer.

My favourite flavours were the maple syrup and the bonito flakes (the common way takoyakis are done). The curry spice did not go too well with the takoyaki, so it did not appeal to me. If it was curry sauce it would have been more interesting.

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(In picture): Jeffrey, Maxwell and I at the first stop of our Food Cart Crawl meetup. (Edwin took the photo so he wasn’t in the picture.)

Stay tuned for more food cart adventures! If you would like to join Food Cart Crawl Part 2 – Join the Meetup!

Osa Tako Hero on Urbanspoon

Osa Tako Hero
700 W Pender St, Vancouver
osatakohero.com

Osa Tako Hero is located south side of 800 West Pender St. It is outside the Starbucks/Tim Hortons entrance of Pacific Centre.

-by Jenny Shen, Eat With Jenny