Tenshinhan and Chaoz are two of Dragon Ball's main cast members who studied under Tsurusennin in Tsuru School martial arts together, and like many characters in the series, their names originate from food—the Chinese foods tenshinhan (crab-meat omelet served over rice) and jiaozi (dumplings).
In Dragon Ball, the pair are something of a dynamic duo on the battlefield, but what about at the dinner table? They've certainly got plenty of synergy when it comes to throwing down together, so would it be unthinkable that they'd have the same synergy when plated up together as their eponymous foods, tenshinhan and jiaozi?
And with fusion being used to create a single warrior with an elevated Power Level in Dragon Ball, could the techniques of fusion cuisine be used to combine and amplify tenshinhan and jiaozi's deliciousness level...?
But alas, this is all merely the peckish hypothesizing of a writer overdue for their lunchbreak... Or at least it was until we found an expert in Chinese cuisine who was willing to serve up an answer to our gustatory guesswork!
Meet Banri Taguchi, a Dragon Ball fan and master of Chinese cuisine—and for the purposes of this article, a master of the fusion technique too!
Chef: Banri Taguchi
Born in 1984, the same year as the commencement of Dragon Ball's serialization. After training in the culinary arts at a renowned Chinese restaurant, he returned to his hometown of Yoshikawa, Saitama, in 2014 and opened a restaurant of his own, Banteki Chuka Shoron. His specialties are Sichuan cuisine and dim sum.
A true Dragon Ball fan, he greeted us wearing a familiar orange garb emblazoned with the Kame School mark under his black chef uniform.
Tenshinhan and Chaoz never fused in the original series, but just what kind of fantastic transformation will they achieve through Chef Banri's fusion cuisine?!
Interviewer & Writer: Hyouhon Tamaoki
Was so into Dragon Ball as a kid that he made his backpack as heavy as possible when going to school in order to emulate Goku's Kame School training.
His favorite part in Dragon Ball is when Arale crossed over into the story.
*Interview and photography took place while abiding by coronavirus prevention measures in December 2021.
Firstly, as a Dragon Ball fan, I want to say thank you for allowing me the honor of taking on this challenge. The recipe I've prepared for today is all about maximizing flavor (see; "Power Level") through fusion without being deterred by the somewhat unique appearance of the resulting dish. Today's the day that I show off the results of all my years of culinary training!
*We had Chef Banri create his fusion recipe beforehand.
It's almost like you're about to go fight in the Tenkaichi Budokai with how fired up you are! Just what kind of food will you be making for us today?
I call it "Tsurusenhan".
Hold on, if we're going by fusion naming conventions in Dragon Ball, shouldn't it be Tenchaohan or Chaoshinhan or something...?
You've got me there, but since they both studied Tsuru School martial arts under Tsurusennin, I decided to break from tradition a little and show respect for their master with this name.
I see! In that case, what kind of dish is your Tsurusenhan?
Tsurusenhan will be a special kind of jiaozi that has been enhanced with elements of tenshinhan. Specifically, I've tried to recreate the way that rice is wrapped in an omelet for tenshinhan using the dumpling dough of jiaozi.
But we're talking about food here, so rather than explain it all to you now with bland old words, let's whip up some Tsurusenhan and you can taste it for yourself!
Just three main parts: topping, dough, and filling! Check the bottom of the article for the full recipe!
Oh, so you've omitted the rice from the tenshinhan side? If you ignore the crab sticks and the eggs, this just looks like plain old jiaozi ingredients, right?
There was a lot of trial and error involved, but in the end, to get the balance of flavors just right, this fusion leans a little more toward jiaozi than tenshinhan.
But of course, I haven't completely forgotten our trusty crab omelet. The dough (bottom left in the image) actually has a little secret to it: it's a fusion of two doughs! One is made of cake flour, egg, salt, and lard, and the other is made from rice flour and water.
Above: Egg dough. Below: Rice dough. (Photograph provided by Mr. Taguchi)
So the egg and rice from the tenshinhan have been fused in before we even start cooking! I did think that it looked a little more yellow than normal jiaozi dough.
For time and flavor purposes, the dough and filling were prepared the day before and left to sit.
That's right. Tenshinhan is all about that combination off egg and rice, so I wanted you to be able to experience that sensation the instant you bite into my Tsurusenhan.
Cutting the stretched dough.
Are there any secrets hidden in the filling?
Flattening out a section to stuff in the filling. If you look closely, you can see that it contains some rice.
Indeed there is! I also wanted to add some rice to the filling, so I used some steamed mochi rice. The reason I used mochi rice is that it's more chewy than regular rice, so even though there's not much in there, you'll sense it right away when you take a bite.
Stuffed dough pockets.
Left: Regular jiaozi. Right: Tsurusenhan.
So we just fry them up and they'll be done? I see what you meant when you said the fusion leans more toward jiaozi while keeping some elements of tenshinhan, but I can't help but feel like the balance could be better—
AHEM!!! We're still cooking. First we're going to steam them, then we'll fry them in oil.
You mean you're fusing steamed dumplings and fried dumplings too?! You're really going all out! I still think they're a little too heavy on the Chaoz side though—
AHEM!!! ...Like I said: we're still cooking. Now we combine the egg and other ingredients to make the topping, and...
...just pour it beautifully right over the plated jiaozi!
And there you have it! My Tsurusenhan!
What an incredible finisher! Adding the topping over the dumplings like that really powers up the presentation! They look delectable!
Now, I'd really love to dig right into your Tsurusenhan, but unfortunately I didn't come here just to chow down. In the interest of realizing the original purpose of this article, we must first taste the pre-fusion foods so that we can compare them to their post-fusion Power Level. To that end, Chef Banri has been kind enough to prepare a serving of regular tenshinhan and jiaozi!
I've only ever made tenshinhan by throwing it together with whatever was around the kitchen at the time, so I had to quickly practice making it properly yesterday in preparation for this. I tasted my test-run tenshinhan and it actually turned out pretty good! Maybe I should put it on the menu at my restaurant...
Did you know, by the way, that in China they actually use noodles instead of rice for these kinds of dishes where you're laying some kind of fried egg over the top—the rice version with this topping originated in Japan.
So just like how Dragon Ball is a story created in Japan that was inspired by the Chinese story Journey to the West, tenshinhan is a food created in Japan that's based on Chinese cuisine! I actually first found out about the food tenshinhan by reading Dragon Ball.
Mmm, this is good. The flavor of the topping is just right, the egg is fluffy and fragrant, and beneath it you have the white rice to bring it all together as one powerful dish. The filling in the omelet is hitting me like one of Tenshinhan's special moves.
Thank you kindly! Go ahead and try the jiaozi too.
They're so stuffed to the brim, and the creases in the dough are so tiny. It's a really unique look, kind of like Chaoz himself.
By keeping the size of the creases to a minimum, it makes the filling and the dough pouch seem like they're one single unit. And since they're so full and round, you have to open your mouth up wider to bite into them, which I think makes for a more satisfying eating experience.
MmmMmrhh! They're so full of meat that the juices just overflow and pour out when you bite into them! I thought for a second that I was eating soup dumplings rather than jiaozi! First you get the crispy outside, and then everything else is soft and chewy. Even though they're fried, it's like they combine the best parts of fried jiaozi and steamed jiaozi—the best of both worlds!
I'm glad you like them! I should mention, though, that the soup in the soup dumplings I make is around three times the volume of the juices in those jiaozi.
Wow, you really go 3x Kaio-ken on those soup dumplings!
So now that I've tried both base foods, we've finally reached the main event: taste-testing the fused Tsurusenhan! In Dragon Ball, the fusion dance is a high-risk technique that can result in the fused fighter's Power Level being halved if you mess it up, and I'm sure the same can be said for fusing foods in terms of their resulting flavor. Chef Banri's tenshinhan and jiaozi are both incredibly tasty on their own, and I can vouch that you'd be more than satisfied eating them side-by-side as a set, but can fusing them together actually result in something more than the sum of its parts...!?
Here we go, the moment of truth.
Oh my goodness!! This is amazing.
The infinite power and potential of jiaozi, cradled in the magnanimous embrace of tenshinhan's egg and topping.
For the dough pockets, not only do you get the rich egg flavor from the egg dough and that satisfying touch of resistance as you bite into them, but you also get some smoothness from the rice-flour dough for the perfect balance.
And if they were only steamed, the pockets would be smooth and slippery, which would make it difficult for the topping to stick. But by lightly frying them, thereby adding a bit of roughness to their surface, the topping is able to coat them perfectly.
The mochi rice makes a big difference to the filling as well, doesn't it? It feels so full compared to regular jiaozi. You can really tell that you're eating rice.
The mochi rice takes in the juices from the jiaozi's meat filling, so you get a kind of satisfying mouthful that's different from a typical jiaozi or tenshinhan.
I'm blown away. In the same way that you've created a new food with different characteristics to tenshinhan and jiaozi while still paying homage to the best of both of them, I can also feel the respect to Tenshinhan and Chaoz's former master, Tsurusennin, from the name you've chosen and the flavor you ended up with. While I was eating, the sensations conjured up a scene in the back of my mind of Chaoz growing ever stronger through Tsurusennin's rigorous training while Tenshinhan watches over him.
You've managed to go beyond merely using your expertise to fuse tenshinhan and jiaozi—you've shattered my expectations by creating a completely new kind of food. Thank you very much, and compliments to the chef!!
I'd love to hear more about how you arrived at such a unique food that neither tastes nor feels quite like tenshinhan or jiaozi.
To be honest, I thought you were crazy when you first proposed the idea to me. (laughs)
However, as both a chef and a fan of Dragon Ball, this was a challenge that I knew I couldn't back down from, even if I wanted to.
It still involved a lot of trial and error, right? Which of the two to make the main part of the dish, what it should look like, how it should taste... I'm sure there was a lot for you to think about.
There was, yes. Like you said, it could've gone a number of ways and there was a lot to consider, so first I took the time to decide exactly what direction I wanted to go in.
And since this was meant to be a true Dragon Ball fusion, I knew that I had to not only keep the best aspects of both foods but also create something entirely new and even tastier on top of that. It's probably the hardest I've had to think about anything in the past few years.
Could you tell us about any of the ideas that were eliminated along the way?
At one stage, I thought about making something that looked like it had four arms with chicken wing jiaozi to represent Tenshinhan and one little hair on its head for Chaoz as a kind of "visual fusion" of the two. However, that wouldn't do because I knew that if this is fusion we're talking about, I needed to not only combine but power up and enhance the two base parts, and so in the end I decided to focus on flavor over its outward appearance.
The fusion in its early stages. Much work and improvement would go into it from here on out. (Photograph provided by Mr. Taguchi)
In the end, what I created was something completely different to anything I'd ever made before. Steaming jiaozi, then frying them, and then covering them with sauce, for example, is something that I'd normally never think of when cooking.
Considering all the trouble you went through to create your Tsurusenhan, I'd love to try eating it again sometime if you put it on the menu at your restaurant.
Uhh...I'll think about it. (laughs)
Well, it's almost time to go, but I'd be remiss to have come all the way here and not talk Dragon Ball with a fellow fan of the series! So what's your favorite thing about Dragon Ball?
I like that you can see how their training pays off—that they work hard to get stronger and eventually beat the bad guy. Having worked hard and endured a lot of trial and error myself to become a better chef, I feel like I can relate to the characters in that sense.
I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that it's because I read Dragon Ball growing up that I was able to stay focused and overcome my training to be where I am now. I think that even taking on this ridiculous challenge you put me up to today is another form of training that served to make me stronger as a chef, so thank you!
As an aside, if you managed to gather all seven Dragon Balls and summon Shenron, what would you wish for?
I can't really think of anything right now, but I remember being back in my 20s and wishing that Shenron would appear and tell me exactly what restaurant I should train at in order to become the kind of chef I wanted to be.
What a diligent wish!
And so in the end, our little endeavor into fusion was an enormous success. However, being that Chef Banri's jiaozi and tenshinhan were so delicious in their base forms, it might be less that we fused them together to raise the Power Level of their combined flavors, and more that we were able to add an entirely new fighter to our crew—that is, an entirely new dish to the culinary world! Thanks again, Chef, and let's do a special Frieza Force parfait next time!
・ 160g of cake flour
・ 1 tablespoon of whole egg, 3 yolks
・ A pinch of salt
・ 1 teaspoon of lard
・ 40g of rice flour
・ 36g of water
・ 150g of minced pork
・ Lard ... 15 grams
・ 20g of Chinese chives
・ 80g of cabbage
・ 1 clove of garlic
・ 150g of steamed mochi rice
・ 1 teaspoon of salt
・ 1/2 teaspoon of MSG
・ A pinch of black pepper
・ 1 tablespoon of negiyu (oil with fried onion fragrance)
・ 2 tablespoons of sake
・ 240cc of chicken stock
・ 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
・ A pinch of MSG
・A pinch of black pepper
・ 2 tablespoons of egg
・ 1 tablespoon of potato starch
・ A splash of sesame oil
1) Combine and knead ingredients for dough #1 and dough #2 separately, then combine doughs together well, cover with wrap, and set aside to rest for a while.
2) Combine filling ingredients well.
3) Roll out dough with a rolling pin into circles and fill with filling.
4) Steam filled pouches in a steamer for 6 minutes, then fry in oil for 1 minute at 180 degrees, then move to a plate.
5) Combine chicken stock, soy sauce, and MSG and bring to a boil, then dissolve potato starch in equal parts water and add to soup, then add beaten eggs and sesame oil and pour over the plated jiaozi.
DRAGON BALL Games Battle Hour 2022 will feature a "KAKAROT COOKING" segment, where an expert in Chinese cuisine takes on our challenge to recreate gourmet dishes from the game DRAGON BALL Z: KAKAROT ! Come and enjoy the feast with us!
DRAGON BALL Games Battle Hour 2022 will be held across two days, spanning February 19–20! Check out the official event site here for more details!
Photography: Ono Nakano
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