5 Basic Ways to Eat Tempura in Japan

Tempura is one of the most famous Japanese foods in the world and is made by coating one piece of ingredient with flour batter and deep-frying it in plenty of oil, and the typical ingredients include seafood, vegetables, and mushrooms.

If you have a chance to enjoy the traditional course dinner “Kaiseki (会席)” at Japanese restaurants, the menu usually includes Tempura, which is often served with a dipping sauce for it called “Tentsuyu (天つゆ)“.

How to Eat Tempura

In addition to savoring Tempura at restaurants, Japanese home cooks sometimes make it at home. Unlike having Tempura in restaurants, the eating manner of Tempura at home varies depending on each person and the household.

Nevertheless, there are some basic ways of eating Tempura favored by many of us Japanese, and today for beginners, I will introduce them.

With Salt

Prawn Tempura with Matcha Salt

Many Japanese like to eat Tempura with salt. Although in many cases we sprinkle plain salt over them, one recommended way is to use Matcha Salt that contains Matcha green tea powder. In fact, some traditional Japanese restaurants serve Tempura with green tea salt.

Dip in Ponzu Sauce

Tempura with Ponzu Sauce

Some Japanese like eating Tempura dipping in Ponzu, the Japanese sauce made with citrus fruit juice, soy sauce, and brewed vinegar. This way of eating is recommended if you want to make Tempura refreshing in taste. Also, it is recommended to add grated daikon radish to the sauce.

Drizzle Worcestershire Sauce

Oyster Tempura served with Worcester Sauce
Eating Tempura with Japanese Worcestershire sauce is one of the most basic eating manners of Tempura in Japan. Especially, the Worcester sauce is the best match for deep-fried oysters and prawns.

Dip in Tentsuyu Sauce

Tempura with Tentsuyu Sauce

Also, Eating Tempura dipping in Tentsuyu sauce is one of the most common ways to eat Tempura in Japan. The sauce Tentsuyu is made with soy sauce, mirin, and dashi soup stock, like the recipe below from cookpad.com.

Tentsuyu Sauce Recipe (1 serving)
Ingredient Quantity
Soy sauce 1/2 tablespoon
Mirin sweet cooking rice wine 1/2 tablespoon
Hondashi powder A small amount
Water 2 tablespoons
  1. Put all the ingredients in a small bowl
  2. Microwave the liquid for about 30 seconds
  3. Enjoy Tempura with the Tentsuyu sauce!

Put Shoyu (Soy Sauce)

Tempura with Soy Sauce

It is said that the origin of Tempura dates back to over 300 years ago, when people ate them with Shoyu or soy sauce, and even now, many of us Japanese love this traditional way of eating Tempura.


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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