Eating tempura can be a very overwhelming experience. The seemingly light dish can fill you up real quick and it’s unfortunate because tempura just makes you want to keep getting more.
Now that tempura has become a very commercialized dish in the Philippines, it’s also hard to find the one that’s not like your usual. And besides, how in the world are you going to qualify breaded shrimp as ‘the tempura dish’?
Tendon Akimitsu is a response to the ongoing search of how to eat endless tempura without feeling full quickly. This light crunchy-on-the-outside-fluffy-on-the-inside batter sets it apart from your regular tempura because no matter how long you wait, it’s still going to be the crispiness you expect. And the secret to endless amounts of this tempura? Ramen.
We spoke with Tendon Akimitsu’s restaurant manager during this tempura experience. He admits that eating tempura is one of the most frustrating things ever because you keep wanting more but your stomach just wants you to chill. This is why they chose to combine both Ramen Nagi and Tendon Akimitsu in one place. It’s initially from the consumer’s demand to have more “side dishes” to their favorite Ramen Nagi bowl but it’s also to allow cross-ordering for both tempura and ramen lovers.
What’s Tendon Akimitsu all about? The word tendon is a combination of two Japanese dishes – tempura, breaded seafood and/or vegetables, and donburi, which is a rice topping dish. Tendon Akimitsu’s bestsellers are set menus so you get a mix of various tempura, a cup of rice, a side dish, fruit for dessert, and one of the most important things to help your digestion – miso soup.
This March 2018, Tendon Akimitsu released a new set dish – the Gokai Moriawase Tempura (Php 400 for the set meal, Php 330 for the ala carte). The Gokai is a mainly seafood tempura mix that consists of kani (imitation crab), salmon, cream dory, and their famous Ebi Tempura.
The Gokai Moriawase also includes vegetable tempura such as eggplant, nori strips, carrot, squash, and my personal favorite – the sweet potato tempura.
We loved the variety of flavor this dish had. I don’t personally like eggplants because of the texture but I found myself enjoying the eggplant tempura more than the other vegatable tempuras. Besides, everything tastes amazing deep-fried.
We couldn’t leave without trying the bestselling Ebi Tempura (Php 420 for the set meal). One of the difficulties with cooking shrimp tempura is that the shrimp gets really dry inside and the batter takes most of the meal.
At Tendon Akimitsu, they’ve perfected the balance between the seafood and the coating. You get that fresh surprisingly flavorful shrimp and a light, translucent tempura batter all around.
You may also opt to order this Ebi Tempura with hot soba, an alternative to a bowl of ramen or miso.
The traditional way of eating tempura is to get a piece of grated daikon (the white mound that looks like mashed potato) and mix it with the sauce before using it for dipping. Some prefer to simply dip the tempura in some salt which is what I usually do. I felt that Tendon Akimitsu’s tempura sauce wasn’t to my liking, so I opted to eat the dish on its own or with some seasoning.
But wait, the Japanese don’t eat tempura with ramen at all. We Filipinos are used to the variety of ulam on our table, so it’s never too overwhelming for us to see different bowls of food to choose from. This is one of the reasons Tendon Akimitsu chose to combine their restaurant with one of the best ramen places in the country.
The way Filipinos eat will always be a fascinating sight to me. We have a bunch of food hacks for every type of dish and it’s all so we can eat more of something or bring out their flavors a lot more. Some ideas are clearly very questionable like putting creamer on your spaghetti, but some, like the eating tempura with ramen, are more than favourable.
Ultimately, eating tempura is an experience that can be very personal to every foodie – whether it’s grabbing a bowl of street food tempura at your nearest LRT station or indulging in a specialty kind somewhere fancy.
Tendon Akimitsu Branches
- Ayala Malls The 30th
- NAIA 3
* Photos by Abby Singson for Typist PH