Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tempura Tsunahachi Shinjuku

In Shinjuku, there are two historical establishments that sell tempura and they happened to be located opposite each other. Tsunahachi may not have the long and illustrious history than Funabashiya Honten but it is highly popular among the locals since 1923. 
For dinner, selection is limited to 5 set course and about a page of 15-20 ala carte items. 
The cheapest Tempura Zen set costs 2100. It comes with rice, miso soup and......
Two prawns, fish and vegetables. 
That is of course not all, there is also Anago and a fist-sized ball of kakiage , a type of fish cake that contains two plump and juicy shrimps shown in the picture below.
For the Special Tempura Zen course (¥2700), everything is the same except that there is an additional giant scallop (even the shell is being fried) , squid and green chilli pepper.  
The usual salt dips come in three flavors-plain, wasabi and sesame. A little goes a long way to enhance the taste.  
But for a more refreshing zing, I prefer dipping the tempura into the ponzu sauce with grated radish as it helps to cut the grease and the radish has a chilling effect which could soothe the heatiness of all the deep fried items. 
If you are lost or new to tempura, there is always a fool proof guide available in both Japanese and English at each table. The only item from the ala carte menu was the tempura egg yolk. Yes, it sounds peculiar yet new to us. The big surprise comes when one takes a bite and the yolk flows out.This is definitely more nerve-wrecking than handling the poached eggs of egg benedict!
The draw here is the use of sesame oil to fry all items, which produces a light yellow crispy batter that may be less sinful and healthier since it boasts benefits such as lowering our cholesterol. Fresh seafood, especially the excellent shrimps, add lustre to the experience. Yet, I felt that it lack the fragrance and the golden allure of tempura from Tempura Sansada in Asakusa. Also, a subtle sweetness was missing in the shoyu tare here. 
One can sit at the counter and watch the chef fry all the items in front of you but I prefer to stay away from the counter and dine comfortable on tables. Instead of dinner, perhaps it would be much wiser to come during lunch for the tempura don that looks like a rearrangement of the items from the dinner set but on top of rice and drizzled with sauce.

Tsunahachi Tempura  天ぷら新宿つな八 
Main Shop:
〒160-0022 Tokyo, Shinjuku, 3−31-8
Other outlets and menu, visit here
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  1. What's the brown thing above the daikon oroshi?

    1. It's the pickled version of the daikon oroshi. Tasted like sour plum and one can actually eat it straightaway without the tempura because it is very appetizing :)


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