When something becomes popular in Singapore, many will jump on the bandwagon. Case in point – Tendon 天丼, short for Tempura Donburi 天ぷら丼ぶり. Guess we all need some Tendon-loving-care.
Within two years, we are seeing Tendon almost everywhere in Singapore, and the trend does not look like it is stopping yet.
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 15 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)
Tendon Kohaku Boat Quay
64 Circular Road #01-01 Singapore 049418
Tel: +65 6211 8311
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 4:00pm, 5:00pm – 10:00pm (Mon – Fri), Closed Sat, Sun
Tendon Kohaku Chinatown Point
Chinatown Point #02-34 Singapore 059413
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 4:00pm, 5:00pm – 10:00pm, Last Order 30 Min before closing
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)
Bugis Junction #02-50, 200 Victoria St, Singapore 188021
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm Last orders 9.30pm (Sun – Thurs), 11am – 11pm Last orders 10.30pm (Fri – Sat)
This should be the only Tendon shop in Singapore that allows diners to customise their own tendon bowl, from the key ingredients (chicken, prawn, vegetable or mixed), to base (rice, soba, udon), sauces (choice of four), and add-ons of chawanmushi and miso soup.
You would find that the tempura looked more yellowish-golden, and upon eating would have a moderate *crunch*, crispier than the average brand – which might have turned soggy sometimes due to the drizzling of the sauces (or otherwise). Kogane Yama (Bugis Junction)
Shokutsu Ten Japanese Food Street, #B1-03/04, Great World City, 1 Kim Seng Promenade, Singapore 237994
Tel: +65 6835 9071
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 3:00pm, Last Rrder 2.30pm (Mon – Sun)
5.30pm – 10:00pm, Last Order 9.30pm (Mon – Sun)
Ami Ami is a new tempura restaurant at Great World City which offers a Tendon Set ($23.80++, ala carte $20.80++).
See that egg. The must order. Tempura Prawn, vegetable and original egg tempura on rice served with pickles, miso soup and chawanmushi.
The highlight is the Tempura Onsen Egg, first wrapped in deep-fried beancurd skin then deep-fried. Crisp on the outside, oozy on the inside.
Watch it burst, then mix it with the rice or use the runny egg yolk as a dip for the tempura.
Take note, the Tempura Rice Bowl set is limited to only 10 daily. (Why…)
If you add $3.50 for an upgrade, you get a flask of dashi broth. Pour the soup over the tendon (towards the end with some rice), with sprinkled spring onion, shredded nori and a dash of wasabi for a different way of eating. Ami Ami (Great World 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.
#B1-20 The Centrepoint, 176 Orchard Road, Singapore 238843
Tel: +65 6733 0449
Opening Hours: 11:30 am – 10:00 pm (Mon-Thurs), 11:30 am – 10:30 pm (Fri-Sat), 11:30 am – 10:00 pm (Sun)
Tensho opened by Ministry of Food (MOF) serves up just two types of Tendon – Mixed Tendon ($14.90), and Vege Tendon ($13.90). The good thing is the meal is served with chawanmushi and miso soup.
The Mixed Tendon contains tempura prawn, two slices of dory fish, onsen egg and vegetables on notably a higher grade of rice than what MOF typically serves.
I liked the accompanying savoury-sweet Tensho-sauce and wished there was more (there is a side bottle where you can add more on your own).
My feedback is, I wished that the batter could be crispier with a crunch, and the onsen egg could improve in execution – a tad on the over-cooked side. Tensho (Centrepoint)
Don Meijin 丼名人
Ramen Champion Bugis+, 201 Victoria Street, #04-10, Bugis+, Singapore 188067
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10:30pm Daily
What will the Japanese feel when they find Singapore chilli crab sauce doused over tempura?
Don Meijin 丼名人 is a donburi eatery added to the Ramen Champion fleet at Bugis+, located at Level 4.
The eatery offers a couple of donburi items, including Tendon ($13.80), Roast Beef Don ($18.80), Pork Shogayaki Don ($12.80), Jumbo Chicken Katsu Don ($13.80) and a most intriguing Spicy Chilli Crab Tendon ($14.80).
The Tendon pieces include tempura prawns, asparagus, pumpkin, seasonal fish fillet, eggplant and kakiage.
They are supposedly fried at a specific temperature in a water fryer. The water cleans and helps prevent degradation of the oil, as well as filters food residues to keep the oil clear.
As the sauce is so intense-tasting, the flipside is that it can distract from the flavours of the tempura pieces, such as the sweetness of the prawns and vegetables. Don Mejin (Bugist+)
Don Meijin at Ramen Champion
6 Eu Tong Sen Street, #03-89 The Central, Singapore 059817
Tel: +65 6221 2156
Opening Hours: 11:00am – 11:0pm (Mon – Sun)
I once wrote in jest that Don Meijin, known for its Chilli Crab Tendon, would release a Salted Egg version. And they did!
What you get is a Tempura Donburi ($16) topped with crispy prawns, onsen egg, chicken fillet, green beans, pumpkin, crabsticks, green pepper and seasonal fish fillet tempura, all drizzled with a savoury, creamy salted egg sauce.
The sauce is cooked with salted egg yolk, curry leaves, butter and evaporated milk, and is slightly on the sweet side. For those with risk-taking taste buds.
68 Orchard Road, Plaza Singapura #04-65 Singapore 238839
Tel: +65 6264 3390
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 3:00pm, 5:00pm – 10:00pm Daily
Vivocity #01-54, 1 Harbourfront Walk, Singapore 098585
Opening Hours: 12:00pm – 3:00pm, 5:00pm – 9:00pm, Last Order 8:30pm (Tentative opening hours)
Akimitsu is an award-winning Tempura and Tendon restaurant which originated from Asakusa in Tokyo, Japan with over 128 years of history. It has also got Singaporeans diners curious enough to fill the restaurant with long lines.
Price-point is not considered expensive in comparison to other tendon shops in Singapore, and Akimitsu Signature Tendon ($14.90) also comes with chawanmushi, miso soup and free flow of pickles.
The best parts were probably that egg and chawanmushi – the former successfully yolk-oozing, the other smooth and flavourful.
The major pitfall was that every piece was greasy, with much oil seeping to the rice. You can imagine consuming the bowl not exactly pleasurable, with that queasy feeling after bites. Unless you do not mind oily and salty tendon, which is fine with some I guess. Akimitsu (Plaza Singapura)
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)
Tempura Ten Ten
252 North Bridge Road B1-13 Raffles City Shopping Centre (City Hall MRT)
Tel: +65 6336 7457
Opening Hours: 11am – 10pm, Last Order 9:30pm (Mon – Sun)
Tempura Ten Ten is one of the newest in the Singapore market, located at the slightly obscure side of Raffles City basement.
Its offerings include BOTH Tendon and Ramen, with signature items being Unatendon – Unagi & Tendon ($19.80), Special Tendon ($13.80), Jumbo Prawn Tendon ($24.80, limited to 10 bowls a day) and Unaju ($24.80).
In terms of crispiness, I would place Tempura Ten Ten somewhere in the middle among those I tried. It could do with less oiliness, but at least not as soggy as some of the other brands.
The highlight piece was a meat patty hidden somewhere in the middle. Tempura Ten Ten (Raffles City)
ION Orchard, 2 Orchard Turn, #B3-23, Singapore 238801
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 10:00pm (Mon-Sun)
Probably the first in Singapore to serve Pork tempura in a Tendon bowl.
As the name implies, there was only meat (pork and chicken) with fried seaweed and the usual vegetables, without the usual prawn tempura.
Drizzled with a sweetish savoury sauce on the thin, crispy, golden battered crust, I loved the light and airy batter that coated the pieces.
For the price of $12.90, this is probably also one of the cheapest Tendon (aka Tempura Donburi) in Singapore. Niku Kappo (ION Orchard)