Timeless tempura

Do you know where tempura comes from?  Apparently it was adopted from the Portuguese but now is something very very different.  My London friends and I ended up going to some hidden tempura shop.  The entrance looked like the back of some grimey (well grimey for Tokyo standards) back alley.  But the inside was a small restaurant of maybe 12 chairs.

We sat at the counter and each course was gutted in front of us (Sometimes alive), lightly battered and fried, and then placed directly onto our plates.  Time so that each piece arrived piping hot and with just enough of a pause to let you savour the last bite before moving onto something different.

First course – some juicy juicy and very sweet prawns

Second course – prawn heads!  Now I’m usually not a fan of prawn heads, but this is different.  I think I have been converted.

Third course – some small fish, the name I didn’t catch.  Again has a slight sweet taste because it is so fresh.  nom nom.

Fourth course – squid.  Now this squid was soft enough to bite easily and melt in your mouth, but still hard enough that it wasn’t too squishy.  

Fifth course – Annago (a type of eel)  ahhh… Before I came to Japan, I thought eel = uunagi, but there is so much more than that…

Sixth course – veg.  Mushroom, egg plant, and pepper!  Well an attempt to pretend to be healthy.

Seventh course – small clams fried together on top of rice in a bowl of dashi soup.  Quite strange (first time I have tried this).  I think I might prefer the ten don (rice with the same on top, but miso on the side) instead.

I think that concludes the best tempura meal I’ve had in my life.  More to come I’m sure.  

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