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Tempura Passes The Crunch Test

By Lynsey Beth Futa Photos By Tempura Ichidai
April 9, 2017

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Sukiyaki Nabe ($35) is sure to leave your mouth watering.

Sukiyaki Nabe ($35) is sure to leave your mouth watering.

Literally feeding diners’ love for fried foods, Tempura Ichidai — Hawaii’s first authentic tempura bar — offers a special Japanese eating experience at its Ala Moana Center location.

The restaurant’s chefs cook and serve fresh, made-to-order tempura right in front of customers, ensuring optimal crunch and flavor — the way that tempura is meant to be savored.

One unique factor at Tempura Ichidai is its choice of tempura ingredients. “In Japan, tempura is usually only vegetables and seafood,” says chef Susumu Mizui. “But in Hawaii, locals like meat, so we made chicken tempura as well, and even have Hawaiian kale, Kauai shrimp and heart of palm as local ingredients.”

These unlikely, but delicious, tempura items are showcased in best-selling Ichidai Teishoku ($19), which also features eggplant, kisu (Japanese whiting fish), snapper and pumpkin tempura. And the set would not be complete without rice, miso soup, two appetizers and pickled vegetables.

Mizui also points out that “we not only have tempura dipping sauce, but Hawaiian salt and wasabi salt for tempura, too.”

A SWEET-AND-SAVORY TREAT

A new menu item to try at Tempura Ichidai is Sukiyaki Nabe ($35). The nabe is the star of the meal set, featuring USDA Prime beef, tofu, an assortment of Japanese mushrooms, shirataki noodles, green onion, shungiku greens, gobo and Chinese cabbage — all cooked in a bubbling sukiyaki broth. The meal also includes three types of assorted sashimi for a bite of freshness, as well as two appetizers, chawanmushi (egg custard) and a raw egg (a traditional dipping sauce for sukiyaki). And don’t forget the additions of rice, miso soup and pickled veggies.

Tempura Ichidai

Ala Moana Center
1450 Ala Moana Blvd.
Ewa Wing, Level 3, Honolulu
955-8899
Daily, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (last seating 9:30 p.m.)