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Portuguese Tempura

1 rating: 5.0
Tempura is originally invented in Portugal, then popularised by the Japanese
1 review about Portuguese Tempura

The Portuguese invented my beloved Tempura

  • Mar 23, 2011
  • by
I am from Taiwan, where the local cuisine is predominantly influenced by our former coloniser Japan. So I grew up eating everything Tempura, fish, vegetable, meat, everything dipped in batter and deep fried the Japanese way, or is it?

On a recent trip to Lisbon, while savouring delicacy at a quaint local restaurant, I was surprised to discover that my favourite Japanese dish, Tempura, had originally come from Portugal. (Incidentally, here is another little historical trivia: In 1544, a group of Portuguese sailors first named Taiwan "Ilha Formosa", meaning Beautiful Island when they were passing by the island on their ship.)

The chef and owner of this restaurant explained to me that while most people in the world believe the tempura was invented by the Japanese, it is actually a misconception. This batter covered fried dish was originally introduced to Japan by early Portuguese missionaries in the 1500's and later popularised to the world by the Japanese!

The Portuguese tempura I tried at this restaurant is very similar to the Japanese tempura that I am used to eating, both in texture and in taste.The only major difference is in the dipping sauce. While the Japanese tempura sauce is called tentsuyu and is made with soup stock, soy sauce, sugar and grated daikon, the Portuguese dip is more like the traditional piri-piri sauce that’s made with olive oil, chili peppers, bay leaf and lemon.
Where ever this dish comes from, I am just happy that it was ever created because it is super delicious!!!

Tempura is originally a Portuguese dish which got Traditional Portuguese cheese and sausage Restaurant I went to in Portugal Inside of the Portuguese restaurant

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September 19, 2011
I'm hooked.
March 23, 2011
I had no idea that tempura originated in Portugal! That looks so tasty though. What kind of sauces do you use for dipping instead of ponzu? I've gotta try it! :)
March 24, 2011
Hello Devora, I edited my article and put in the difference between Japanese Sauce and Portuguese sauce. While tempura has its roots in Portugal, after hundreds of years of evolution, I am not sure which country influences the other more in terms of the preparation of this dish, but they surely taste similar to me besides the sauce (both very delicious) !! :-)
March 24, 2011
Oh, thanks for the heads up! I want to try that piri piri sauce now :)
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Tempura is originally invented in Portugal
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