Thursday, January 12, 2012

Lining up for Tempura at Sansada in Asakusa

Tokyo is a city of innovation and modernity. It is also a city of tradition. Wherever you go, you find iconic images of Japanese heritage and culture.
Asakusa is one such place that typifies old Tokyo -- with its temple, its shopping street of Japanese arts and crafts called Nakamise dori and its many small and old restaurants that have been there for years and years.

This famous gate, Kaminarimon leads to the Senso-ji temple. It is also my marker for a traditional and typical tempura restaurant that is acclaimed in the Asakusa area.

You cannot miss Sansada as it's just to the right of the Kaminarimon -- and you'll see the queue that starts to form even before the restaurant opens at 11:30 am.

Once you enter the door, you see the glassed in kitchen where the food is prepared. The seating areas are on the second and third floors.

We arrive before 12 noon but the western style dining room is already full. So, we wait in line and peer in, silently wishing these people would just hurry up and finish their meal!

We don't have too long to wait and are finally ushered in to our table.
But not before shedding our shoes and leaving them outside in the racks provided for them. The waitresses are grandmotherly and do not speak eigo but they know enough to bring an english menu for us.

I can't make up my mind on the dozens of tempura, tendon and lunch sets available. Meanwhile, someone lined up outside is probably wishing I would hurry up and order!

The dining room is full of both locals and foreigners. This is the western seating area where you sit on low chairs. The other rooms are tatami style but I cannot sit on the floor and enjoy my meal at the same time.

Tsukemono or pickles that go with the meal are always a delightful treat, you never know what kind you will get but they are indubitably crunchy, cold and delicious.
Of course, I order a bottle of my favorite Asahi beer.

Jay ordered the tendon with 4 prawns and a slice of eggplant tempura. A bowl of hot miso soup with small mushrooms is a perfect accompaniment to this meal.

I opt for a mix of prawn tempura and kakiage with squid, clam valves and scallops. It comes steaming hot on a bed of rice inside a red lacquer box.
Sansada has definitely perfected the art of light, non greasy tempura!

After that extremely good lunch, it's time to put our shoes back on and trudge downstairs, completely full and satisfied.
Sansada is a very good and affordable choice for lunch when you're in the Asakusa area.
Aside from the terrific food, you also become part of more than 150 years of the culinary tradition of tempura!

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