I pretended to make tempura fish last night at home. I used Basa, a member of the catfish family native to Vietnam and Thailand. It is a nice white fish, mild and sweet in flavour. The poor man’s halibut. I made a sauce of egg, milk, olive oil, s & p, and a tiny bit of garlic powder, dipped the fish in it, rolled it in panko breadcrumbs and fried it. Although delicious, it was not a true tempura (hence, the “pretended” part of my introductory sentence). It wasn’t particularly pretty either so I didn’t take pictures.

Deanna: I interupt Berry to insert and interesting factoid. “True Tempura” is actually… wait for it… Portuguese! Tempura was introduced to Japan in the mid-sixteenth century by early Portuguese missionaries and traders. The word tempura, or the technique of dipping fish and vegetables into a batter and frying them, comes from the word “tempora,” a Latin word meaning “times”, “time period” used by both Spanish and Portuguese missionaries to refer to the Lenten period or Ember Days (ad tempora quadragesimae), Fridays, and other Christian holy days. Ember Days or quattuor tempora refer to holy days when Catholics avoid meat and instead eat fish or vegetables.

I’m not sure, but I think this means that I get to eat more tempura during lent?? Woot!

Now back to Berry…

Today, Dea and I attempted to go to our favorite Japanese restaurant in the whole world. Ebizo. Ah! Ebizo … *sigh*. It is so good that my sister, who travels to Japan frequently for business, said that they make the best Unagi she has ever had [D: I loooove that unagi!]. Dea, Eva and I (and numerous of our more discerning friends and co-workers) eat there routinely and when we don’t, we can develop dangerous symptoms of withdrawal. [D: *twitch*] We mostly go there for the sushi & sashimi, but they also make delicious tempura. So Dea and I were going to use this blog as an excuse to go to Ebizo and eat sushi (and also some tempura).

As I rushed down the street from my office to meet Dea outside of hers, I called Ebizo to make a reservation and got this message: “We are sorry but we are now closed from December 18 – January 11. Thank you.” WHA …???? WAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!! I rushed breathlessly up to Dea and said, “Disaster has struck! Ebizo is closed!” at which point we had the realization that this happens to us every year. Having gone on Christmas holidays and having eaten copious quantities of Christmas food, the first thing we want to do upon our return to work in January is go for lunch at Ebizo. And every year they close for the holidays and we try to go for lunch and are disappointed. It is becoming part of our annual routine.

There is another Japanese restaurant half a block from Dea’s office, Japanese Village. I think it’s a chain. It’s one of those places where they will cook you meal in front of you while twirling knives in the air and making bad “Japanese” jokes for the tourists, but rumour has it the sushi bar is not bad. So we went there instead and it was … not bad. Not spectacular either.

We had a tempura appetizer of tempura prawns and vegetables. The batter was a little heavy and doughy – not as light, airy and crispy as Ebizo’s – but it was all right. Better was the soft-shelled crab that was fried in tempura batter and then rolled into a sushi roll with tobiko (flying fish roe) and a couple of other tidbits. The presentation was beautiful, as you can see from Dea’s pictures, and the sushi chef was very personable and had a beautiful knife. [D: I have knife envy. I also liked the display of sushi plates!]

And that’s all we have to say about that… until we can get to Ebizo. Stay tuned for an update!

B and D.

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