[Updated Aug 2016] Tendon 天丼 is short for Tempura Donburi 天ぷら丼ぶり (not the body’s connective tissue) and has always been one of my favourite must-orders in a Japanese restaurant. The dish didn’t really get noticed in Singapore in a big way, until the opening of Tendon Ginza Itsuki.
A bowl is made of deep fried tempura over a bed of rice, covered in light soy dressing, though some restaurants serves the sauce with salt separately.
One of the best known tempura speciality restaurant is Tenshin at Regent Singapore. Here are 7 other Japanese restaurants in Singapore where you can get your fill of an oishii bowl of Tendon.
Eat At 7, 3 Temasek Boulevard #03-311 Suntec City Mall Singapore 038983
Tel: +65 6333 4386
Opening hours : 11am – 10.30pm (Last Order 10pm)
Kohaku specialises in Edomae Tendon, where bowls of Hokkaido rice piled with tempura drizzled in a specially made sauce are served. So, so good.
The options are straight forward – the signature Kohaku Tendon ($15), Vegetable Tendon ($14), Spicy Flavour ($15) and Vegetable Spicy Flavour ($14).
This is for once that I liked almost every piece in the bowl, from the sweet soft pumpkin, crunchy long beans to fresh-tasting squid.
My friend didn’t quite like the chicken breast which she thought was dry and chunky, but I found the piece acceptable (maybe because I am so into protein of late).
However, beware of smelling like tempura due to the ventilation issues in the small eatery. (Read: Kohaku Tendon Suntec City)
61 Ang Mo Kio Ave 8 #02-03 Jubilee Square Singapore 569814 (Ang Mo Kio MRT)
Tel: +65 6451 3201
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3pm, 5:30pm – 10pm (Mon – Thurs), 11:30am – 10pm (Fri-Sun)
Who would have thought? A humble restaurant at Ang Mo Kio’s Jubilee Square actually serves up a decently satisfying bowl of Tendon that could give bigger players a run for its money.
While the menu has another (cheaper) version, order the Premium Tendon ($21.90) which is value for its buck.
The bowl arranged with a deep fried large sea prawn lying across with vegetables below, won us over with its tasty sweet-savoury tendon sauce served separately. This would have been a perfect 10 if the rice was fluffier with a glossy sheen.
Tendon Ginza Itsuki
101 Tanjong Pagar Road Singapore 088522 (Tanjong Pagar MRT)
Tel: +65 6221 6678
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2:30pm, 5:30pm – 10pm
Note: Cash only
This is probably Singapore’s most well-known and IN tendon specialty shop. Located right next to Keisuke’s turf ground of Orchid Hotel, Tendon Ginza Itsuki is a collaboration between him and chef-owner Mr Naoki Takaku of Ginza Itsuki Sushi.
Two types of Japanese Tendon are available – Special Tendon (Tempura Rice Bowl, $13.90) and Vegetable Tendon (Vegetable Tempura Rice Bowl, $12.90.
2 tempura prawns resting on top of a mixture of deep fried vegetables of melon and lady’s finger, slices of chicken breast meat and yolk-oozing tempura egg over a bed of rice, covered in light soy dressing, all in an elegant Arita porcelain bowl.
If only we didn’t leave with our shirts smelling quite like tempura. Oh, the smell. (Read: Tendon Ginza Itsuki Tanjong Pagar)
Ryu’s Japanese Restaurant
Capitol Piazza #01-87, 15 Stamford Road Singapore 178906 (City Hall MRT)
Tel: +65 6384 9087
Opening Hours: 12pm – 12am
While understated and off-the-radar, Ryu’s has become one of my favourite new Japanese restaurants. The tempura chef used to work at Tokyo’s famed Edo style tempura restaurant Tempura Yamanoue Roppongi, whose culinary skill is shown in a deceptively simple bowl of Tendon ($25).
The bowl is filed with 2 prawns and fresh-tasting vegetables, matched with crisp light and airy batter. It has been a long time since I last tasted tempura vegetables this crisp and almost ‘garden-fresh’. I found the oil a wee bit too much, as every bite would leave that gleam on the lips.
Wagokoro Hide Yamamoto
The Quayside #01-04, 60 Robertson Quay, Singapore 238252
Tel: +65 6733 6315
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2pm, 6 – 11pm (Mon – Sat). Last order for dinner 10.30pm. Closed Sun
Finding good Tendon makes me excited. Wagokoro’s crispy light batter tempura in sweet sauce, and fluffy rice belongs to the outstanding category. Plus, the ebi used was sweet and fresh-tasting.
For the price of $28 though, the servings could have been more generous. (Read: Wagokoro Hide Yamamoto Robertson Quay)
Ngee Ann City, 391 Orchard Rd #03-10 Singapore 238873 (Orchard MRT)
Tel: +65 6235 3785
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 2pm, 6pm – 10pm
While the company behind Ginza Kuroson is in fish exporting business and thus more known for its sashimi, the Tempura Don ($26) is worthy of mention.
The batter used is also towards the lighter side, and the bowl was more subdued in the use of seasoning. Ingredients such as the prawns were plump and juicy. The rice was somewhat dry though, and we found ourselves needing some additional sauce to enhance the overall taste. (Read: Ginza Kuroson)
18 Purvis Street #01-01 Singapore 188597
Tel: +65 67344436
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10pm (Mon-Sun)
The Tendon ($14), rice with tempura, was not too bad a choice and wasn’t expensive. The winner coming from the light soy dressing drizzled over matched with fresh ebi tempura.
However, the batter could have been crisper and some items turned soggy quickly from the watery sauce. (Read: Manzoku Purvis Street)
Tempura Tsukiji Tenka at Japan Food Town
435 Orchard Rd, #04-39/54 Wisma Atria Shopping Centre, Singapore 238877
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm Daily
I liked the freshness of the ingredients used in the Tendon ($19.80) – the prawn was sweet, and squid surprisingly tender and NOT rubbery (my friend commented finally no ‘jun jun’ bite).
However, for a place with links to a Sushi Academy, I was surprised that the rice was the weakest link – dry, not fluffy enough.
The batter could have been crisper and less oily though, and the sauce was un-impressionable. (Read: Tempura Tsukiji Tenka Wisma Atria)