VanVan Izakaya – Russian Roulette Takoyaki!

VanVan Izakaya is an izakaya (Japanese pub) serving up beer and Japanese tapas on Robson street. I’ve passed by this location many times before but never stopped to give it a try.

Disclaimer: Chinese Bites kindly invited me to a tasting event at Van Van Izakaya along with a few other bloggers. Even though the food was complimentary, the view and opinion of the dishes are my own.

This is their whole izakaya menu. It has everything from sashimi, to salads, to deep fried items…etc. The coolest item on the menu was the Russian Roulette Takoyaki. More on that later. 🙂


Started off with a Takowasabi ($3.80). It’s essentially chopped up raw octopus mixed with wasabi. It tastes amazing wrapped up in seaweed (nori)!

We thought the Chicken Gristle Karaage ($4.80) was the same as ‘deep fried chicken knee’ dishes we normally order at dim sum. How wrong we were. They were pure cartilage which made it a little difficult to eat. I prefer some more meat with the cartilage.

For $8.80, I didn’t think the Ebi Mayo was really worth it to be honest. It was good, but not amazing.

The Russian Roulette Takoyaki ($6.80)!!! I highly recommend this dish as a fun thing to do with your friends. One of the takoyaki balls is filled with wasabi but you don’t know which one it is. Watch one of your buddies squirm in pain when they get the ball of wasabi!

The Beef Short Ribs ($9.80) were pretty good.

I really enjoyed the citrus fresh flavours of the Pork Jowl with Japanese Citrus ($8.80). Definitely recommended!

We really really didn’t like the Korean Style Vegetable Pancake ($8.80) because it was mainly dough.

Tuna, Scallop, and Salmon Sashimi ($8.80 each)

I quite enjoyed the Marinated Jellyfish ($4.80). It had a great crunchy texture but was a little over seasoned.

More Salmon Sashimi ($8.80) and Marinated Mackerel ($7.80).

I LOVED the Scallop Sashimi!! So fresh, so big.

I didn’t try the Deep Fried Chicken Thigh Karaage ($6.80) but I heard it was good!

Whole Squid with Teriyaki Sauce ($8.80) was deeeelicious. It was especially good with the mayo/togarashi spice.

I didn’t expect this Curry Poutine ($6.80) to beat the Japanese poutine from Cafe de L’Orangerie so I wasn’t surprised when I was right.

Japanese Old Style Omelette ($8.80) was like an Okonomiyaki but made with only egg.

The Chopped Raw Tuna Rice Bowl ($6.80) was delicious and paired very well with the immense amounts of green onion.

I’m not a fan of natto so the Chopped Raw Tuna with Natto ($7.80) was something I tried to avoid. However, if you like natto, this would be a pretty good dish!

For a restaurant that does not specialize in ramen, their Tonkotsu Ramen ($9.80) was surprisingly delicious. It was a rich and fatty broth, but boy was it flavourful.

My favourite dessert item was their Green Tea Soy Milk Pudding ($4.80). It had the consistency of very very soft pudding.

I didn’t enjoy the Rice Cake wrapped in Red Bean ($4.80) because the rice cake was a little wet and melty. It didn’t hold together as well as I would’ve liked.

The Matcha Ice-Cream ($4.00) was really authentic and had great amounts of matcha flavour!

All in all, VanVan Izakaya serves up some good izakaya dishes. It’s a little pricey because it’s on Robson, but it’s worth it just to try the Russian Roulette Takoyaki!
Service Rating: N/A
Food Rating: 3/5
Price: $$-$$$
Overall Rating: 3/5
Happy Eating!
          when your friend gets the wasabi takoyaki…

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