Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Maruzen tempura, Morishita (満る善 まるぜん)

Occasional visitors to Japan (hi Mom and Dad) will recognize this tiny, fading place as the one where we had lunch one day around 2005. Or not. It's in the row of places across from the north entrance to Morishita station, along with Fuji. It's a real get-there-before-they-die sort of place. So many of them are.

It was a late day today - on-off rain from the threatened but never quite instantiating typhoon kept me in and then got me wet when I went out. Maruzen was still open, and the master was quietly doing his thing. He's been here a long time - I remember on my first visit that he said he'd been running the shop for 42 years. If that's right, it's now 47 or 48. A man gets tired, frying every day like that. He doesn't look up a lot. While I ate, he kept his hand in a pot, gently kneading the dry flour he had just poured out of a new bag. Does that improve the texture?

His wife has been working alongside all those years. I wonder if she signed up for this or if it just happened.

They make a very classic tendon. I got the luxury version, 'cause I'm a luxury guy, and there were 2 shrimps, a piece of squid, a butterflied whiting, and another medium-small fish that I'm betting was a megochi. It would be just like an old-fashioned shop like this to throw in some real Edomae fish to round things out.

The two cucumber slices round things out too, but not very far.

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