Tsunahachi in Shinjuku, Tokyo has been serving one of the finest tempura in the capital for almost a century. We had to try it!
Even if the restaurant is big, it is split in many rooms with several chefs at various bars so that it looks quite personal. We sit at one of the bars, close to the cooks, to see the food being prepared.
Tempura is the Japanese way of battering and deep frying food, from vegetables to seafood, and even ice cream! It was imported by the Portuguese in the 16th century in Nagasaki and its name is most likely derived from a Latin word. Adapted by the Japanese, the batter is rather light and the frying is such that the flavours and crunchiness of the ingredients are preserved.
As the cooking time for every ingredient is different, our plate is filled several times: shrimps, calamari, fish, lotus flower roots, eggplants… Once a tempura dish is on the plate, we dip it in tentsuyu, a brown and salty sauce in which we put a bit of shredded radish. We also have the option to add some salt on it: sea, wasabi, or shrimp salt.
Among the surprises of the menu: egg yolk and ice cream tempura! The ice cream softly melts in the crunchy batter. The sensation of hot fried dough, together with ice-cold cream melting in the mouth is phenomenal!
Marcella and Claire
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