Tendon vs. Tempura: What’s the Difference?

As with the pork cutlet Tonkatsu (豚カツ), Tempura (天ぷら) can be the main ingredient in the Japanese rice bowl dish Donburi (丼)

You may know the bowl of rice topped with Tempura has the name Tendon (天丼), but can you tell how the dish differs from Tempura?

Tendon (天丼) vs. Tempura (天ぷら)

For those who don’t know the difference but want to spot it, I will give an overview of each this time.

Tempura (天ぷら)

Tempura Deep-Fried Ingredients

Tempura is a traditional Japanese dish that is as well-recognized as sushi in many countries.

It is made by deep-frying batter-coated ingredients in sesame oil or other vegetable oil one by one.

The batter consists of wheat flour and hen’s eggs.

Tempura has a crispy covering on the outside, while the food inside retains its moisture.

Ingredients prepared for the dish include seafood (such as prawns and fish), vegetables (such as eggplant, asparagus, and sweet potato), and mushrooms (such as Shiitake and Maitake).

Tempura can be enjoyed in various ways, but we most commonly eat it with Tentsuyu (天つゆ) sauce served separately.

Tentsuyu is the dipping sauce for Tempura, made by bringing a mixture of dashi (soup stock), mirin (sweet cooking rice wine), and soy sauce to a simmer.

Tentsuyu often comes with grated Daikon radish, and we usually put it in the sauce before dipping Tempura.

Tendon (天丼)

Tendon Tempura Donburi

Tendon is the portmanteau word for Tempura Donburi.

The cooking is generally; once Tempura is ready, the fried ingredients are placed on a warm bowl of white rice and then dressed with a sweetened soy sauce.

The pieces of Tempura for Tendon usually consist of several varieties.

The main ingredients are prawn Tempura and other seafood Tempura such as squid and sand borer.

And they are typically garnished with a few additional seasonal-vegetable Tempura, like Shishito green pepper, eggplant, pumpkin, and lotus root.

The sauce for this dish is prepared by evaporating alcohol from a mixture of dashi, soy sauce, mirin, and sugar by heating.

It has a strong taste and flavor compared to the Tentsuyu sauce for Tempura.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia 天丼, 天ぷら )


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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