Tempura? Why so popular? >>Find Tempura RestaurantsTempura is a classic Japanese dish. Even if you've experienced tempura in your country before, chances are that Tokyo tempura will taste better and have exclusive, local ingredients. Tempura is one of the most popular foods in Japan. It's popular because it's:
CrispyIn Japanese, the sound you make when you bit into crispy tempura is "saku saku." Think fried chicken but lighter and more flaky.
Healthy! Although tempura is deep fried, it is not nearly as heavy as Western deep fried dishes. Furthermore, the tempura deep-frying process prevents nutritious juices and vitamins from the vegetables and fish from escaping.
Tasty! Tempura chefs use seasonal ingredients - potatoes, squid, shrimp, eggplant, even parsley. You might find something new and delicious every time.
Cheap!?Although very expensive tempura restaurants do exist, you can get delicious tempura at inexpensive restaurants as well - think "Tenya," one popular tempura fast food chain. But usually at lunch, the expensive restaurants will have cheap tempura fro about 1,000 yen.
Sunny Recommended Tempura Menu >>Find Tempura Restaurants
Ebi Tempura (Shrimp)
The most popular tempura ingredient, available everywhere.
Kakiage Tempura (mixed tempura with scallop, onion, carrot, squid, etc…):Yummy! You can taste many slices of ingredients at once.
Kisu Tempura (Sillago, white fish):In Japan, do as the Japanese do, and try white fish.
Ika Tempura (Squid):Light, crunchy texture.
Imo Tempura (Sweet potato):Japanese sweet potatoes, different from American, are delicious when cooked tempura style; the salt and natural sweetness combine well.
Omakase (Chef's choice):Ask the chef about the best seasonal tempura.
Can I use a fork to eat Tempura?Eating tempura is easy - use your chopsticks, not a fork, to dip tempura pieces into tentsuyu (special tempura sauce) or salt. Occasionally, citrus juice is served at more expensive tempura restaurants.
Tentsuyu is the most popular tempura condiment in Japan. It's a dark sauce consisting of three parts dashi (simple soup stock), one part mirin (a kind of weaker rice wine), and one part soy sauce with an adjustment of sake or sugar. If you like radish, feel free to add Daikon Oroshi (grated Japanese radish) into Tentsuyu. Even the salt is an art in itself at the most expensive tempura restaurants: it's often combined with green tea, curry powder, Japanese pepper, etc. for a very delicate taste.
Are there other types of Tempura? >>Find Tempura RestaurantsTempura is well matched with both Udon and Soba. It's called Tempura udon or Tempura Soba. (In case of Kakiage, it's called Kakiage Udon or Kakiage Soba). You can also enjoy one of the more popular dishes called Tendon; simply tempura on top of a bowl of rice. Another popular dish called kakiagedon. Kakiagedon is a mixture of fried seafood and vegetables, chopped shrimp, scallops, and onions all put into a ball and placed over rice.
Yasai （vege) tendon
Tempura is expensive?If you don't feel like spending much time or money, try a stand-up tempura shop, such as tenya, where you get your food quite quickly and reasonably.
Where does Tempura come from? -History-Like so many other Japanese cultural mainstays, tempura was not invented in Japan, but rather improved and changed to suit Japanese tastes. Tempura was first introduced to Japan by Portuguese missionaries hundreds of years ago. These missionaries covered fish with flour batter and fried it in deep oil. This dish, called "Namban yaki (Western Style fry)", evolved into tempura modern crispy tempura. During the Edo period (1603 to 1868), tempura became a popular food because of its style and simplicity. Later on, people living in Tokyo started to use sesame oil, while Kyoto (a capital of Japan until Edo period ended) people began to use cotton oil. There differentiation was the beginning of birth of fine dining for tempura. As a result, now you can taste tempura in a wide range of restaurants, from cheap stand up restaurants to inexpensive fast food chains to highly refined five-star restaurants.
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