Japanese yatai at Bridgeport: mobile food at its best

BYOB:  Bring Your Own Bowl at Shoryumen

What is it about mobile food that is so intriguing?  From snacks on road trips, to running for the ice cream truck, there’s something about food on wheels that simply gets the stomach growling.  Hence, my tribute to the Japanese yatai that is stationed across from the bus loop at Bridgeport Station.  Most of us are too busily caught up in the hectic exchange from buses to trains to make a pit stop, but I assure you, it is well worth the effort.

In Japan mobile food comes in the form of yatai, which usually come out at night, catering to hungry businessmen and late night party revellers.  For Vancouver’s own version of yatai, step off at Bridgeport station, and head towards the bus loop where the word FOOD spelled out by a string of Christmas lights will point you in the right direction. Crossing the street, you’ll come across an odd little conglomeration of trailers selling temaki, ramen and bakadanyaki. This is the yatai's new location (you would have found them a few meters from the Olympic Oval last year).

One of the trailers hosts Fumisen Cones, known for their excellent temaki.  Temaki are those hand wrapped sushi cones that are the perfect answer to mobile food. The best thing about Fumisen cones is the variety of options.  For example, one has the option of swapping  sushi rice for salmon rice, in addition to a huge assortment of meat, seafood and vegetables to choose from.  There are three sizes, ranging from $3.50 to $8.50.  The larger the cone, the more treats are stuffed inside of it.

In the second cart (Shoryumen), you’ll find steaming bowls of ramen topped with ground pork, bean sprouts, shredded cabbage and green onion.  You can pick from a shio, miso, shoyu, curry or chili soup base and spring for additional toppings such as fried garlic or boiled egg.  Hint: if you bring your own bowl, you can get one extra topping for free.  Ramen bowls start at a very reasonable $6.95 per bowl. 

The last trailer sells an intriguing concoction called bakudanyaki for $5.  Bakudanyaki is a large battered ball stuffed with delicious ingredients such as beef, spinach, potato and leek.  Despite its monstrous size, it tastes very similar to the takoyaki (octopus balls) and again you are given the choice of a number of tangy, tasty sauces to select from such as wasabi mayo, curry mayo or chili.  

Next time you’re at Bridgeport standing around during your transfer, stop by and grab one of these tasty snacks.  You’ll find a warm little heated tent set up with chairs and tables; but of course, this stuff’s best on the go!

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