Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Japan 2017 -- Kyoto's Tempura Endo

Ayu tempura at Tempura Endo
For some reason, we had never been to Tempura Endo before. Conveniently located in the southeastern part of Kyoto, not far from the Gion area, Endo boasts three popular locations, and I hope to try all of them in time.

Even in Japan, there is tempura and there is tempura. Ordinary tempura, which can be quite delicious, is made in large batches, and your order generally arrives all at once (or twice). High-end tempura is a different kettle of oil. A chef stands in front of a huge vat of very hot oil and puts one or two small items in at a time. This prevents the oil from losing heat, resulting in super crispy food that is nearly totally devoid of oil. You can eat lots without that feeling of being stuffed on fried food.

So here are some of the wonderful fish and vegetable items to which we were treated.

First, the simple but lovely setup.
Table setting at Tempura Endo
We started, as is customary, with a small plate of sashimi, not fried but delicious.
Sashimi at Tempura Endo
We continued with some almond tofu, just to whet our appetites for the fried feast to come. This dish was unusual because this is typically made with sesame seeds(it's not really tofu at all despite the similar silky texture).
Almond tofu at Tempura Endo
Next, corn fritters in broth. Heavenly.
Corn fritters in broth at Tempura Endo
Then, of course, a cavalcade of delicate perfectly fried items, including these three.
Shrimp and mushroom tempura at Tempura Endo
Some of the items are intended to be eaten with sauce, some with just salt, and some with spicy shichimi (seven-spice) powder. While one is free to do as he or she pleases, I recommend taking the chef's recommendation the first time you eat at his establishment; later you can intelligently make your own choices.

Bobby Jay

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