Post fabric shopping at Nippori, everyone placed their shopping bags inside the big white MPV that had brought them to Nippori. After that, all of us walked toward the train station for late lunch. There’s a restaurant nearby we know that served good and affordable food.
It’s the restaurant that my mum, Reza and I had gone to earlier in December.
Argue if you want, but the best thing about Nippori to me… is the existence of Tenya. It’s another one of those restaurant chains in Japan, but this one focuses on tempura and tendon.
I was super hungry the morning we had gone to Nippori, late last year. Was very grumpy. Reza led us to this shop after looking it up on his phone, which was conveniently located near the exits of the Nippori station and near the street leading to the textile town.
We were the first customers to walk in that morning. As soon as we sat down, a lady came by and served us kocha (black tea).
A look at the menu suggested that the main dish that’s served at Tenya is its tendon (that’s tempura and rice). Customers get to choose the types of tempura they want with their tendon, from the different sets offered.
I chose the ¥580 tendon set, which gave me two tempura prawns and a mixture of tempura vegetables, including a small bowl of miso soup. I thought the tendon tasted good for the price I was paying. The portion was acceptable, too.
I was surprised by the price difference between the tendon at a chain like Tenya (¥580) against those from individual restaurants in the city (about ¥1500). I’m no tendon or tempura snob to have known how they would differ. A quick search later revealed that, while tempura prepared individual restaurants are mostly freshly breaded on the spot and fried, tempura at chain restaurants are most likely pre-cooked, frozen and reheated. In Reza’s words, it’s “fast food” tempura.
My mum was quite happy to not need to have sushi that morning. After that, tendon’s considered edible Japanese food in her books. Like mine (who isn’t too keen on Japanese food), Reza’s mum turned out to like the food there, too.
So if you’re like them, you know where to head for good and relatively cheaper food when you’re in Japan.