It’s a Japanese dish. Most places in the US do not make good tempura. Japanese chefs in the US adjust their cooking for US Americans who have diverse, different. and ‘American’ preferences. Traditional elite Japanese tempura make the batter crisp and very crystal light and no grease dripped. It melted as it crunched in your mouth. Drooling now.
Tempura, is originally of Portuguese origin. Portuguese landed, by accident during a storm, onto the shores of Japan during the Muromachi Period (roughly the 15th to 16th century) of the old Japanese calendar. The Portuguese were the first non-Chinese foreign peoples to establish trade relations with the Japanese government on a large scale. With this came the introduction of the Jesuit priesthood and Christianity to Japan. The Jesuits, unlike most of the other Western Christians and nations to visit Japan, took careful time to learn the Japanese culture and their leader-priests took time to learn Japanese to a good degree. For this, the Japanese respected them. Later, of course, it was found that some of them engaged in black market trade and viewed as betrayers. Before this happened, though, they introduced many Portuguese words into the Japanese language. There are many!
One of them is Tempura!! The original Portuguese word for deep fried shrimp and vegetables, is tempoeira. Everyone now, thinks of this as Japanese. It is, really, because through time, the Japanese added and molded their own style and presentation skills to create tempura. Mouth is drooling…..