Wooing the world through the international language of deep-fried deliciousness, tempura is one of Japan’s most popular culinary exports. Actually, this iconic Japanese dish finds its roots abroad — in Portugal.
When Portuguese missionaries and traders arrived in Nagasaki in the mid-16th century, they brought with them a taste for rich foods and the technique of deep-frying. Christianity may have been slow to catch on in Japan, but tempura was an instant hit.
At Kondo, deep-frying is almost an art form: Here are greaseless morsels of tender asparagus, delicately crisp kisu fish and plump scallops still pink in the center.