Philippine Daily Inquirer

Tenya Tempura Tendon offers a truly crispy take on the usual Japanese fare

- By Maan D’Asis Pamaran

When you hear the word Tempura, the first food that comes to mind is the fried prawn that sits under a hot lamp at many buffet setups. This is actually only one of the many types of tempura in Japanese cuisine, as the term refers to the cooking method of coating an ingredient in batter, then deep-frying it.

It does not only apply to prawns too, but also to other seafood and even vegetables. In Japan, the main ingredient ranges from the familiar prawn to squid, crab, sea bass, cod and skate, to eggplants, okra, beans, mushrooms and bamboo shoots.

Tempura became popular in 17th century Tokyo due to the yatai or food cart concepts that sprung up around that time. This became known as Edo or Tokyo-style tempura, which became popular overseas along with sushi and ramen. It is often served along with Soba (noodles) or on top of rice as tendon.

Japan’s Number One is in Manila

While there are many tempura restaurant­s in Japan, the biggest and most successful brand is Tenya Tempura Tendon. It is Japan’s #1 tempura tendon brand, founded by Mr. Yoshio Iwashita, who started with his first outlet in the Yasu undergroun­d mall of the Tokyo station. It has since grown to almost 200 branches in Japan and has since expanded to Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippine­s, where it has partnered with the RACKS group of companies.

There are eight Tenya Tempura Tendon branches in the country: Market! Market!, BGC Stopover, SM Megamall, SM Southmall, ASEANA City, Festival Mall, SM Mall of Asia, and Paseo de Magallanes — all of which serve authentic tempura dishes with ingredient­s sourced from Japan, starting from the batter mix to the sauces, and even the rice. TempuRamen (P325)

One of the main difference­s with the tempura we are used to is that it stays crisp and does not become soggy with oil. The secret is cooking it upon order using a fryer that uses infrared technology for even frying within a controlled temperatur­e. Instead of the usual tempura sauce sprinkled with ginger bits, the dish is drizzled with a thick Don tare sauce that lends a sweetsalty dimension to the crunch that awaits your tastebuds.

There are so many varieties of tempura tendon (P235-P335) to choose from at Tenya, from seafood to vegetables, with the All-Star Tendon (P310) featuring six of these in one rice bowl: Black Tiger Prawn, Squid, Salmon, Kani Stick, Green Beans and Mushroom. Those with bigger appetites can opt for the Tempura Udon/Soba Sets (P345-P395) that come with rice and noodles, or the Teishoku sets (P325-P375) with sides of Potato Salad and Miso Soup.

Internatio­nal Flavors meet the Filipino way

The restaurant follows the Japanese way of doing things where it specialize­s in one particular dish. A ramen shop in Japan serves just that, and Tenya focuses on its main product. Filipinos who are not familiar with the concept do come in occasional­ly looking for the other Japanese food items, so the menu includes Gyoza (P185), TempuRamen (P325) Sukiyaki (P395) and Ebi Ten Soba (P265) where the Prawn is done tempura-style; this is also the case for their Ebi Tempura Maki (P315) and Spicy Salmon Maki (P295) sets. For those who look for light snacks between meals, they also have sandwiches (P135) done the tempura way.

While keeping the taste authentic, its menu has also adjusted to the local food culture. In keeping with the Fil- ipino way of eating, the restaurant has likewise added group sets, so diners can enjoy their meals family-style.

Since Pinoys like to end their meals on a sweet note, Tenya has desserts too, starting with the Ningyo Yaki Sundae (P125), which is a cute bear-shaped baked Japanese Cake Snack with vanilla ice cream in nutella or dulce de leche. These little bears are likewise available in boxes for those who want sweet treats takeout. Another cute dessert creation is the Taiyaki Sundae (P145 (1pc); P335 (3pc)), with fish-formed cakes served with ice cream.

The Tenya dining experience offers a taste of authentic Japanese Tempura with that same requisite crunch being savored in Japan’s number one Tempura Tendon restaurant. What’s more is it is familiar to the Filipino palate, served in a delightful­ly-relaxed dining atmosphere, and something the whole family or barkada can enjoy.

For more informatio­n about Tenya Tempura Tendon Restaurant, visit its official Facebook page and website

 ??  ?? Jo Tendon (P295)
Jo Tendon (P295)
 ??  ?? All-Star Tendon (P310)
All-Star Tendon (P310)
 ??  ?? Asakusa Special Tendon (P310)
Asakusa Special Tendon (P310)
 ??  ?? Sriracha Tempura Maki (P275) and Tenya-style California Maki (P265)
Sriracha Tempura Maki (P275) and Tenya-style California Maki (P265)

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