Thursday, 13 October 2011

Of Street Food and Gelato

Going for my first bite of a Kurobuta Terimayo Japadog.
After a delicious lunch at Motomachi Shokudo, my parents and I continued exploring downtown Vancouver as well as Lonsdale Quay in North Vancouver.  After some more exploring in the early afternoon we decided to do some culinary exploration as well.  Our first stop was in front of Waterfront Station where we disembarked a Seabus from North Vancouver.  Waterfront Station was one of several locations for the famous Japadog, one of many of the more unique street food vendors in Vancouver.  Vancouver has been a progressive city in opening up street food in Canada.  Street food in Canadian cities historically almost exclusive meant burgers, hot dogs and ice cream products.  However, Vancouver opted to open its doors in recent years for street food vendors selling food of different ethnic cuisines as well as healthier choices.  One sign that street food is successful is that this year Vancouver granted licenses for 19 new vendors, further expanding the diversity of street food in especially the downtown area.

The Japadog vendor cart in front of Waterfront Station, downtown Vancouver.
Japadog is for all intents and purposes a hot dog vendor, but with a twist by using Japanese ingredients for condiments.  This has been featured on various TV shows, including "Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations" and has become somewhat of a celebrity and an international poster of sorts for Vancouver street food.  Though there were so many other street food vendors, with so little time (not to mention limited room in our stomachs), my parents and I were only able to try one, and we decided to give this one a go.
Kurobuta Terimayo Japadog
The one the three of us shared to try was the Kurobuta Terimayo Japadog.  The sausage itself is made of Kurobuta pork, the Japanese equivalent of Berkshire pork and considered as the "Kobe beef" of pork.  Topping this hot dog were Japanese mayo, teriyaki sauce, nori (seaweed) and fried onion.  I actually enjoyed this and found it amusing.  The teriyaki sauce's sweetness was subtler than ketchup's, allowing the other flavours, especially that of the pork, to shine some more.  The sprinkling of nori was a neat novelty.
My gelati order (L to R): Fior di latte; Chocolate and Sea Salt.
After that we decided to have some mid-afternoon dessert at a gelateria a few blocks to the west.  My mother had visted Bella Gelateria during one of her last Vancouver trips, and she just absolutely loved that place, and after this day I understood why.  All 24 flavours of gelati at this place, most of which changes daily, were handcrafted faithfully in the proper Italian manner.  In fact, the founders trained at the Carpigiani Gelato University to master this craft (imagine that, a university to learn all about gelato!), and the authenticity was good enough for Bella Gelateria to win the first ever Gelato Pioneer Award outside of Italy this past May..

I decided to order two flavours, Fior di Latte, and Chocolate and Sea Salt.  I knew enough that Fior di Latte was transliterated as "Flower of Milk", but imagine my surprise after I returned home when I discovered it actually meant sour cream!  The flavour was mild, and the sourness was not noticeable to me at the time, which further added to my feeling of being caught off-guard by the discovery.  Chocolate and Sea Salt was also a neat flavour.  I already knew that chocolate could be used in savoury dishes, so in a sense I wasn't surprised to see this flavour on the list.  I found that the light sprinkling of sea salt actually helped enhance the dark chocolate flavour.

If there was a downside to this tasty and enjoyable afternoon, it was that I felt quite full for most of the afternoon.  It looked like I could've done some more walking to digest all the lunch and snacks of the day!

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