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Release | Daisuke Sato

Tenkatsu - 100-year-old tempura restaurant in Muroran offers “moist” Tendon!

Most Japanese people now would consider that tempura should have thin batter and crunchy textures, isn’t it? I would like to introduce a totally different style from that, the “moist” Tendon. 
 

The first owner of Tenkatsu was from Edo! He opened the restaurant to appeal “Edomae Tendon” in Muroran

外観▲The restaurant has moved several times. The current shop in Chuo-Cho Muroran City was rebuilt in  1953. 


Chuo-Cho in Muroran City used to be a shopping area where many nightclubs and traditional Japanese restaurants gather. 

The shopping street and shops changed as time goes by and we can’t really say that the area is lively now. However, on the other side, we could say that there are some reasons for the survival of the shops and restaurant which exist until now. 

“Tenkatsu” is one of them. 


Tenkatsu was established in 1920. It is one of rare long-established shops in Muroran which has been here with the history of Muroran.
The name of the restaurant comes from Katsuzo Amasato, the founder and the first owner of the restaurant. 

Surprisingly, he was from Tokyo (Edo). The history of Edomae Tendon restaurant Tenkatsu starts from the first owner moving into Muroran and opening a restaurant to fulfill stomachs of men working for the iron and steel industry. Muroran was enjoying the economic growth at that time. 


苦節十年▲The calligraphy art piece which exists from the second generation owner says, “Ten years of unremitting efforts.” It is almost 100 years now. 



… wait,
Edo…?
…Edomae…??


What is “Edomae Tendon”?
Yes, those who are from the Kanto Region might be familiar. There is a category called “Edomae Tendon” in the world of tempura. 
It has a much longer history than the crunchy tempura which is the mainstream now. 
The characteristics are:

 Thick batter
 Use sesame oil for frying
 Dip into the secret sauce after frying
 Provide the bowl with a lid


These four elements are necessary to be called Edomae Tendon. 

Oh, now I understand. I became hungry instantly right after I opened the door; it was because of the sesame oil’s nice smell. 

Tokuju Amasato, the third generation of Tenkatsu and the current owner, told me about the characteristics. 


3代目▲Tokuju had a cute smile, and he was very soft. 


He was familiar with cooking since he was a child, but he had not thought about taking over the restaurant. 
He was called by his father to come back when he was in the second year of training at a traditional Japanese restaurant in Sendai City, Miyagi Prefecture. It was natural for him to take over the restaurant. 
 

If you are looking for a crunchy tendon, you should go to another place! This is Tenkatsu’s “Edomae Tendon”!

Please understand that the third generation owner did not say that. (lol)
​However, I would like you to consider that Edomae Tendon is different food from crunchy ones. Let’s look at the attractions of Edomae Tendon. 

1) Thick batter

There are not any special ingredients in the batter. They use traditional and authentic tempura batter. 
Sometimes, tempura has an extremely thin batter that you can almost see ingredients through the batter when you visit luxury tempura restaurant recently. However, Tenkatsu’s tempura wears thick and firm batter. 


揚げ方▲Watch the techniques of the chef. My expectation kept rising as I hear the sound and rhythm of frying tempura. 


If I use a metaphor, it is different as summer in Okinawa and autumn in Hokkaido. 
But please relax, it is not like a corn dog (winter in Alaska). What? Is it incomprehensible? 
 

2) Use sesame oil for frying

Humans can’t survive without breathing. The roasting smell of sesame oil stimulates our appetite every time we breathe. This attraction of Edomae Tendon is almost violent. 
By the way, there are many tempura restaurants in Tokyo (Edo) which use 100% sesame oil. Tenkatsu mixes sesame oil and vegetable oil 50% each so that it won’t become too heavy. 

3) Dip into the secret sauce after frying

This process may make crunchy tempura fans faint. 
They dip the crunchy tempura into the secret sauce which has been added since the establishment. 
This sauce is called “Kaeshi.” The sauce is made by slowly boiling mackerel flake, dried sardine, sugar, soy sauce, etc. 
They add kelp dashi broth for the soba bowl. 


サクサク▲The crunchy tempura dives into the sauce. 

漬ける▲“nooooooo!!”

染みる▲It is soaked completely. 


The batter soaks the aroma of sesame oil and umami flavors of the sauce, and it is killingly delicious that it almost surpasses the ingredients which are supposed to be the main. 
It is said that both too much and too little amount of sauce are not good. So, the tempura chef most cares about this process. 
 

4) Provide the bowl with a lid

The tempura swam in the sea of sauce rests on the beach of rice. 
Then the lid of the bowl appears. It seems as if the lid is a parasol to protect skin from UV. 
Edomae Tendon is complete after steaming the tempura with the lid. By doing that, sauce soaks into the batter evenly. 


天丼全景▲My expectation rises by seeing the tails of shrimps did not fit in the bowl. 


Well, let me open the lid…
天丼開ける▲It was quite a while since I open the lid last time. It makes me excited somehow. 

丼メイン▲Yeah! This looks amazing! The miso soup which comes with Tendon had a great dashi broth flavor. 


This is the standard of Tenkatsu, “Tendon (900yen).”
The toppings are four pieces of shrimps and one piece of squid. Let me have a shrimp first! (Fluffy and moist!)


天丼アップ▲The fresh and slightly sweet shrimp wears golden batter flavored with the sauce. 


Ok, I understood with a bite.
This Tendon is a type of tendon which you hold the bowl and put it into your mouth directly. 
Have it like men working for iron and steel industry in the past! 

I often hear that people who left Muroran crave for not general tendon but “Tenkatsu’s Tendon,” I really understand why they say that. The dish was very satisfying. 

 

Eating is not enough! More information about Tenkatsu

1) Pay first

They display various menus with prices on the wall near the entrance. In Tenkatsu, you will decide the menu and pay first before getting a table. 
I had Tendon this time, but they said regular customers’ favorites are “Tempura Soba.” 


メニュー▲All prices includes tax. 
 

2) Mystery plates

​After you paid, the staff passes you a mystery plate. There are many kinds of plates and staffs will know what you ordered from the shape and color of these plates. 
This might be tough at first for new staffs. 


メニュー札▲The wooden case where they stock the plates has a beautiful deep color and texture. 


メニュー札アップ▲Different plates. By the way, they use red square shaped plates to indicate Tendon. 
 

3) Great teamwork like a waterfall

Customers keep visiting Tenkatsu all the time when they are open. Especially their lunchtime is as if they are in the middle of a war. 


厨房ロング▲It is fun just to watch them cooking tempura continuously. 


Their extreme business made the whole process lean; from taking orders, chefs frying tempura, dipping into the sauce, put tempura on rice, close the lid, and bring to the customer. 
Enjoy watching their work at the counter seat. 

…… 

Did you get hungry? 
Tenkatsu’s Edomae Tendon would make you addicted to it once you have it. 
Those who prefer crunchy tempuras, try Tenkatsu as a different type. 


内観ロング▲There are also tatami seats, so the place is perfect for families, too. 
  • Tenkatsu - 100-year-old tempura restaurant in Muroran offers “moist” Tendon!

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Daisuke Sato

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