People line up at Burnaby’s Uncle Tetsu just for Japanese cheesecake

Chris Campbell

The only time I’ve ever lined up for dessert was in Portland, Oregon at Voodoo Doughnut.

It was worth it.

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I got a grape (my favourite flavour) donut the size of a Frisbee and enjoyed every last bite.

But, generally, I don’t feel any dessert is worth lining up for.

Until I met Uncle Tetsu.

This Burnaby bakery in Metrotown mall makes cheesecake and a friend had me try a bite a few months ago. I was hooked – so hooked that I dropped by to buy a whole one for a party.

That’s when I saw the lineup. If I hadn’t tried Uncle Tetsu’s cheesecake first, I probably wouldn’t have lined up. But this little slice of heaven is definitely worth it (FYI, it’s not always lined up) – you also get to watch the staff make the desserts right in front of you.

There are different types of cheesecakes out there and people seem to gravitate towards certain types and stay dedicated to them. New York-style cheesecake is probably the most popular, but in the wrong hands your stomach can feel like it has a medicine ball stuck in it after downing a piece. Some are just too thick and heavy. It’s not my favourite style at all.

uncle tetsu
The Uncle Tetsu cheesecake served to customers in Burnaby. So simple. So good. Photo from Uncle Tetsu/Instagram

I definitely lean towards really soft cheesecakes – the kind that have been whipped into the food equivalent of a summer cloud. I also normally like flavours blended together instead of just one taste, like chocolate. That’s the beauty of cheesecakes is that they seem to handle more than one flavour mixed in compared to a regular cake.

Uncle Tetsu is a whole other matter. According to the company’s website, it has a 25-year history in Japan and is unlike any cheesecake I’ve had before.

I don’t know how to describe how it’s different, but the taste and smoothness just seems so different than cheesecakes I’ve had before. It’s impossibly light and fluffy, and not sweet at all, yet still sumptuous. The company calls it “mellow yet rich” and that sounds about right.

Each one is handmade with no preservatives or additives and freshly harvested eggs.

Unlike most bakeries, Uncle Tetsu doesn’t make many products. There are cheese tarts and honey madeleines and the cheesecake. That’s about it.

Based on the lineups, they don’t really have to do much more. Do a few things and do them damn well.

Sounds good to me.

DISCLAIMER: I have not been paid by the subject of this story to write about it. I don’t let the food outlets know I’m writing about their food. I just like certain bites and writing about them.

Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.

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