Tempura, in all its crispy glory, is often seen as a simple dish this side of the world. Indeed, some would even make the mistake of labelling it as another form of junk food simply because it’s deep fried. Yet chefs who preside over the many authentic Japanese tempura restaurants would protest — getting the perfect tempura is an art as much as a science.
For starters, the coating has to be crispy with insides that are cooked just right. This is no mean feat as the the batter, oil type and temperature play a massive part. As with much of Japanese cuisine, premium Japanese tempura restaurants also use only the finest seasonal ingredients. Think along the lines of the freshest seafood caught and fried only when its flavours are at its prime, and specific varieties of vegetables sourced from across Japan’s many prefectures.
The Japanese in fact, take this dish so seriously that Tokyo alone is home to 10 Michelin-starred tempura specialists. Three of these restaurants have two michelin stars to their name, thrusting them in the same league as Singapore’s fine dining temples like Odette and L’atelier de Joel Robuchon. Naturally, these are no rowdy spots but intimate counter-seating establishments that resemble the best omakase restaurants.
While Singapore can’t yet boast of Japanese tempura restaurants of such calibre, there are some excellent spots where good versions can be had. Some are more formal, others yet serve it atop a rice bowl (called tendon). Whatever fits your appetite, here are 5 delicious places to tuck in to this dish.
Ippoh Tempura Bar by Ginza Ippoh
Tempura Tsukiji Tenka
Tendon Ginza Itsuki
1800 304 3388