Tempura Endo Yasaka Part 1: Beauti-FRY Your Life
Hi Everyone! This one is going to be a monstrous review. Steph's mouthwatering, transcendental food photos may or may not knock you off your seat. Today, we'll be talking about Tempura Endo Yasaka in Kyoto, Japan. I came here with Steph, my parents, my uncle, and my cousin. It was such a wild dinner that I forgot to take notes about the food. Thankfully, someone (Yokoo) from Tempura Endo Yasaka was super helpful in identifying and explaining some of our dishes long after we had returned to the US. As you can see from the pictures and the title, Tempura Endo Yasaka specializes in tempura (battered and deep-fried seafood and vegetables).
Upon arriving at the gates of the restaurant, we were greeted by a lady dressed in a kimono. She confirmed our reservation and guided us through a little, serene garden to the entrance of the restaurant. Our seats were at the bar and we seemed to be the only foreigners that night. Nevertheless, the staff treated us so well that we felt like royalty.
Click here for Tempura Endo Yasaka Part 2!
Address: 東山区小松町566, (八坂通東大路西入), Kyoto, 京都府 〒605-0811, Japan
Assorted Sashimi (Hamachi, Akami, Ika)
Uni Wrapped in Seaweed Tempura
Shrimp Tempura Heads and Bodies
Burdock Root Tempura
Moroko Tempura from Lake Biwa
Yuba Tofu with Dashi and Soy Sauce
Sesame Tofu in Ponzu
Sweet Potato Salad with Daikon and Lime Dressing
Akadashi Red Miso Soup
Grated Daikon Radish
Shiitake with Shrimp
Snap Peas Croquette
Calamari and Dried Mullet Roe
Sillago in Green Perilla
Kyo-Kanzashi Sweet Carrot Tempura
Yasaka-no-Tsuki Sweet Beans
Conger Eel Tempura
We all ordered the same course meal so you guys don't have to worry about missing any dishes. While we were waiting for our food, we noticed that there was a tiny plate with two different powders in it. We later learned that the white one was Salt with Rice Powder and the green one was Salt with Matcha Powder. For each of the tempura dishes, the chefs would recommend which salt to use for best results.
Note: If Japan is too far and you live in the US, you can go to the one in Los Angeles, California. This one is way more expensive but you don't have to travel as far!
First, we started with a little sashimi platter (see above). It came with Hamachi, Akami, and Ika. I'm not that big of a fan of Ika (Squid Sashimi) because it can be slimy and tasteless. But, Tempura Endo Yasaka's Ika was glorious. It was creamy with a semi-crunchy texture. The Akami (Tuna) was nice, lean, and tasty. The Hamachi (Yellowtail) was definitely my favorite out of the three because it's so fatty and juicy even though the meat is still so tender.
We were also served Yuba Tofu with Dashi and Soy Sauce (see above). Yuba is similar to tofu but imagine something more crepe-like. During the process of boiling soy milk to produce tofu, a thin sheet of bean curd accumulates on the surface. It tastes like tofu but it is nuttier and more chewy in texture.
Next, the tempura started to arrive. First, we got the Squid Tempura (see above). Again, like the Ika sashimi, it was clean, creamy, and a bit crunchy in texture. It went well with the thin layer of fried batter surrounding it. It was also topped with Dried Mullet Roe. I loved it! The Dried Mullet Roe was shaved into tiny pieces but you could taste the chewy, savory bits of concentrated roe flavor.
Above, you will see the Burdock Root Tempura. This is one of my favorite vegetables right now. It tastes sweet like lotus root but more earthy in flavor. It is also really healthy for you given its powerful antioxidant properties. Burdock root has been used for medicinal purposes since the ancient times. It can help prevent liver disease and strengthen your lymphatic system!
Next, we got the Shimonita Leek (see above on the right). This type of leek has long leaves and a short, fat stem. It has a nice, strong flavor and is popularly used in soups/stews.
Above, was the Corn Tempura. This was one of the best dishes of the night! It sounds really simple but this changed my whole perspective of tempura. No, it was not a piece of baby corn. It was actually the kernels of the corn that were still lined up as if they were still attached to the cob. It shocks me how they could have kept it intact while frying. The result was a perfectly fried, juicy corn explosion. I could probably eat 46 pieces of this.
We later found out that Tempura Endo Yasaka uses cottonseed oil. It's light in flavor and does not feel overly oily. It was perfect especially since there were so many tempura dishes. Above, you will notice the Shiitake with Shrimp Tempura. As you would expect, shiitake mushrooms are extra good for your health. They have antimicrobial powers and can help inhibit or prevent cancer cell growth and inflammation. Amazing! Tempura Endo Yasaka also gets their shrimp fresh from the market every morning.
The Sesame Tofu in Ponzu sauce was awesome. I like tofu and I like sesame so this was a dream come true. I don't think I've had anything like this before. So nutty and awesome!
Okay, wow, this post is getting quite long. I'm going to need to split it into two parts. But, you'll be able to find the link to the second review at the end of this post or you can click here for Tempura Endo Yasaka Part 2. Next, we got the Shrimp Tempura. This one was a winner. It came with both the heads and the bodies. The shrimp bodies were delicious, juicy, and crunchy as expected. I'm not so used to eating shrimp heads but since the first half of the meal was going so well, what could go wrong? With one mighty bite, I devoured the head whole. It was enlightening. It was crunchy and the taste was incredible. The heads tasted like shrimp with an extra briny kick. It also felt a little bit exotic as you could feel the shrimp legs as you ate it.