National Tempura Day is celebrated annually on January 7. It is always a yummy time to celebrate tempura, a fantastic Japanese dish made from deep-frying vegetables, seafood, or other foods dipped in a light batter of flour, eggs, and water. Tempura has been with us for about three centuries. Although the Portuguese living in Nagasaki in the 16th century introduced it, tempura has become entrenched in Japanese culture, and you can find tempura everywhere in Japan today. On this day, you can enjoy tempura in different ways, including with a dipping sauce or something more experimental like tempura ice cream.
History of National Tempura Day
You may be quite familiar with some Japanese dishes like ramen, sushi, sashimi, and a host of others, but what about the delectable tempura? You definitely want to know more about this delicacy! Interestingly, tempura is one of the most commonly served Japanese dishes inside and outside the shores of Japan. When Japanese foods are mentioned, the thought of either tempura or sushi comes to mind.
However, how did tempura become so popular and special to be celebrated? Portuguese missionaries originally introduced the deep-fried food method of cooking now associated with tempura in the Japanese city, Nagasaki, in the 1600s. The original tempura dish was served during Lent, an annual Christian event where many Christian denominations are forbidden to eat meat. Remarkably, the name ‘tempura’ stems from the Latin word ‘ad tempora cuaresme,’ meaning “in the time of Lent.” The event was mistaken for the dish’s name, and tempura came to stay.
When it was introduced, this method of deep-frying food was not common and relatively new to Japan. The Japanese caught on to the new technique and skillfully made art out of it. Tempura today has become a sought-after snack that accompanies meals in households and public places. From inception, tempura was made up of minced meat in a ball shape, fish, and vegetables, but in the 1800s, Japanese chefs tried frying fish and vegetables together. As a result, the Japanese culinary style became fully immersed in tempura and became uniquely Japanese. Today, the preparation and sales of tempura have become an important part of Japanese cuisine. Through the transformation of tempura, the Japanese have shown their brilliance in consolidating foreign foods into unique Japanese foods.
National Tempura Day timeline
The Portuguese missionaries introduce the first kind of tempura to Japan while they observe Lent.
The first publication of the modern tempura recipe in a book titled “Cook Menu.”
The style of frying introduced by the Portuguese evolves to fit the Japanese cuisine.
Modern chefs have unique ideas on tempura, and they don’t only use fish or vegetables. Almost anything goes into tempura these days.
National Tempura Day FAQs
Does tempura taste good?
Tempura is one of the best dishes. It has a truly soothing, sweet, and addictive taste that gets you asking for more.
What is special about tempura?
Its distinctive batter, as no bread crumbs are used.
Is tempura and Panko the same?
No, Panko uses special Japanese breadcrumbs in the coating.
National Tempura Day Activities
National Tempura Day is all about celebrating the richness of this Japanese dish, and what better way than making tempura! To make this day memorable, you could challenge yourself to prepare the best tempura ever. Isn’t that interesting?
Host a party
With delicious dishes of tempura for everyone to eat, you’ve got the perfect event. Organize a party for your friends, colleagues, and close associates to share this rich Japanese delicacy.
Have a taste of it
Walk into any Japanese restaurant and order the yummy tempura dish. Then sit back and enjoy!
5 Facts About Tempura
Want something sweet?
You can even make tempura with chocolate and ice cream.
Abundant in Japan
You can find tempura virtually anywhere in Japan, from supermarkets, restaurants, to street food vendors.
Restaurants that specialize in the preparation and sales of tempura in Japan are called tempura-ya.
It has only three ingredients
The classic tempura batter is made up of cold water, cake flour, and eggs.
Many take-out restaurants sell tempura as part of a lunch box meal.
Why We Love National Tempura Day
There is a lot to eat
On this day, most households, restaurants, and supermarkets inside and outside Japan make tempura to celebrate.
Tempura can be healthy
Tempura is delicious, and we love it; however, it will only be healthy when you balance the calories and fat and eat it in moderation.
It is delicious
Tempura tastes yummy, fresh, clean, crispy, and delicate.
National Tempura Day dates