Japan celebrates Tempura Day on July 23

On July 23, Japan celebrates Tempura Day, a special day dedicated to one of the country’s most beloved and iconic dishes. Tempura, a traditional Japanese dish of battered and deep-fried seafood and vegetables, has a rich history and a cherished place in Japanese cuisine.

The Origins of Tempura
Tempura was introduced to Japan in the 16th century by Portuguese missionaries and traders. The word “tempura” is derived from the Latin word “tempora,” which refers to the Ember Days when Catholics would refrain from eating meat and instead consume fish and vegetables. Over time, the Japanese adapted and perfected the dish, creating the tempura we know today, characterized by its light, crispy batter.

How Tempura is Made
The key to perfect tempura lies in the batter and frying technique. The batter is typically made from cold water, flour, and sometimes egg, mixed lightly to avoid activating the gluten, which ensures a light and crispy texture. Ingredients such as shrimp, squid, and a variety of vegetables like sweet potatoes, eggplant, and mushrooms are commonly used. These ingredients are dipped in the batter and then deep-fried in hot oil until golden and crispy.

Celebrating Tempura Day
On Tempura Day, restaurants across Japan offer special tempura dishes and promotions, showcasing both traditional and innovative interpretations of this classic dish. Many families also prepare tempura at home, enjoying a meal that is both nostalgic and universally loved.

Tempura’s Global Influence
Tempura’s popularity has spread beyond Japan, influencing cuisines around the world. It is often featured in Japanese restaurants globally and has inspired various fusion dishes. The technique of deep-frying battered foods has been adopted and adapted in many culinary traditions, making tempura a significant culinary export from Japan.

Enjoying Tempura
Whether enjoyed with a dipping sauce made from soy sauce, dashi, and mirin, or simply with a sprinkle of salt, tempura remains a versatile and delectable dish. It can be served as an appetizer, a main course, or even as a topping for noodle dishes like udon and soba.

Tempura Day on July 23 is a celebration of a dish that embodies the art of Japanese cooking. It’s a day to indulge in the delicate and flavorful delights of tempura, appreciating the culinary heritage and craftsmanship that have made it a favorite for centuries. Whether you’re in Japan or anywhere in the world, Tempura Day is the perfect opportunity to savor this crispy, golden treat.

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