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  • When you think of Japanese cuisine, a few foods come to mind.

  • Sushi, did you know that salmon sushi is actually Norwegian?

  • Yeah, we did a story on that one.

  • Maybe you think of mochi?

  • We did that one, too.

  • And tempura, but, guess what?

  • Tempura is actually a Portuguese dish.

  • Oh, boy, here we go.

  • The Japanese tempura you know is done two ways: either with seafood or with vegetables.

  • Right, and the batter is light, made with cold water, wheat flour and egg.

  • Pretty standard.

  • This tempura can be found dating back to the end of the 16th century in Japan.

  • But as we know, Japan is much older than that.

  • So, why did it suddenly show up?

  • The answer is:

  • Portugal!

  • Around 1543, a Chinese ship with three Portuguese sailors got off course and landed in Japan on Tanegashima island.

  • Fast forward a bit, and the Portuguese, because of this happy accident, are now trading goods, and arms, with the Japanese.

  • Then, in 1639, the Portuguese were kicked out of the country.

  • A few things, however, remained, including a dish of battered and fried beans called Peixinhos da Horta.

  • Everyone knows what Peixinhos da Horta is.

  • That's Manuela Brandão, chef at Pap'Açôrda, one of the best spots in Lisbon to get Peixinhos da Horta.

  • Peixinhos da Horta consists of cooked green beans which are then dipped in batter and fried in oil.

  • It's not salty, it's not sweet, they taste nice.

  • In the 16th century, the Portuguese taught the Japanese.

  • Now, of course, over the past 400 years, Japan has put its own spin on the dish,

  • but, you know, it's a fun fact next time somebody in your group orders tempura.

When you think of Japanese cuisine, a few foods come to mind.

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Japanese Tempura Isn’t Japanese

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    Minnie posted on 2020/12/14
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