Tempura Tasting Menu? Hai, onegaishimasu!
The Japanese people have a long history of taking foreign foods and recreating them to suit Japanese tastes. The frying style used for tempura was introduced to Japan in the 16th century by Portuguese missionaries. The meal that provided the inspiration for tempura was designed to feed Christians during Lent. When many Christian denominations are forbidden to eat meat, missionaries referred to their meal as ad tempora cuaresma, which is Latin for “in the time of Lent.” This term was misinterpreted by the Japanese as the name for the cooking style. Hence the cuisine we now know as Tempura was born.
I don’t think I’ve ever had a Tempura tasting menu in my life. But this trip to Japan is serving to be quite the foodie adventure I hoped it would be.