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Bowled over by Tenya |

Food and Leisure

Bowled over by Tenya

OOH LA LAI - Lai S. Reyes - The Philippine Star
Bowled over by Tenya
The Ultimate Crab Tendon

Why does “bowl food” taste so much better than those served on regular —even fancy — plates?

For me, the beauty of a filling meal is watching the various elements come together — creating a delicious union of unexpected flavors and ingredients.

Just last week, I got bowled over once again by a soft-shell crab tempura dish — the Ultimate Crab Tendon —with a mound of aligue (crab fat) on the side at my happy place — Tenya.

Tenya, Japan’s No. 1 tempura tendon (tempura on a bowl of rice) is a haven for “bowl food” and tempura lovers like me.

Tenya All-Star Tendon

The restaurant opened its first shop in the Philippines in 2015, and has since expanded into multiple branches.

At Tenya, you can have your fill of black tiger prawns, squid, salmon, kani stick tempura, green beans and mushrooms in a bowl with the All-Star Tendon for just P325. All these are beautifully laid over a bed of steaming Japanese rice and drizzled with Tenya’s signature dontare sauce, a special blend that gives a sweet and umami touch, which complements tempura flavors.

“Tenya uses an exclusive recipe made by a 200-year-old boutique soy sauce factory in Japan, which ships it to every Tenya store worldwide,” shared Chukri Prieto, managing director of Cavallino Inc., the company that brought Tenya to the country.

Rice to the occasion

Tempura Tendon

Chukri welcomed guests to the opening of Tenya’s ninth branch at Tiendesitas in Pasig City with bowlfuls of tempura tendon.

We just couldn’t take our chopsticks off the TempuRamen (P345) in tonkotsu ramen broth topped with ground pork, black tiger prawn, green beans and eggplant tempura; and the Sriracha Tempura Maki (P285), a fried tempura maki with mango, cream cheese and mani topped with tempura-batter flakes and Sriracha sauce.

“The Tenya brand in Japan is known for tendon or tempura donburi, as well as its tempura,” said Chukri. “It has made a name for itself in Japan by providing tempura rice bowls with our signature dontare sauce, which is specially made for a tempura rice bowl. It’s slightly different in a way that it’s sweeter and goes really well with the rice and the tempura.”

According to Chukri, Tenya owes its success in the country to Filipinos’ love for Japanese food and, yes, rice.

“Filipinos are very familiar and knowledgeable about what Japanese food is. We identify it with its quality and I think we offer all that at a very reasonable price,” he added.

For its menu, nothing has changed except for seasonal offerings. The restaurant has just concluded its Ultimate Crab tendon promo and I just can’t wait for them to bring it back once again.

Cavallino Inc. managing director Chukri Prieto,, Tenya general manager Edmundo Ramos, Cavallino Inc. director for operations Denise Ramos, Tenya International general manager Noboyuki Aoki at the opening of Tenya in Tiendesitas Photo by Geremy Pintolo

To ensure quality, Tenya only sources its ingredients from reputable and reliable local suppliers.

“We’ve maintained its quality because the principal company from Japan does surprise audits every two months,” shared Denise Ramos, director for operations, Cavallino Inc.

The Tiendesitas branch is the biggest yet. Its contemporary design retains the warm and familiar elements of traditional Japanese aesthetics. Located on the ground floor of the mall, Tenya can accommodate up to 120 diners. The second floor can be converted into a private function area.

“We chose this location because it’s close to our target market — the residents, office workers and students,” said Edmundo Ramos, general manager of Tenya. “We want to provide our customers with high-quality tendon and tempura dishes at an affordable price.”

I just can’t wait to get bowled over once again by Tenya’s delicious “bowl food.”

Tenya A la Carte Tempura

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Tenya has branches at SM Megamall, Market! Market!, BGC Stopover, Paseo de Magallanes, SM Mall of Asia, Aseana City, Festival Mall, SM Southmall and  Tiendesitas.

For more information, visit and follow @tenyaph on Instagram and Tenya Philippines on Facebook.

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