Tempura are foods that have been deep fried after being dipped in a batter. The result is light and delicate (and incredibly hot — be prepared). Good tempura is not greasy. Tempura is fried food that doesn’t leave you feeling like you need a long nap. Though generally consumed without additional seasonings, some prefer a light sauce on their tempura. The crispy coating will absorb sauces quickly, so dip quickly to avoid heavy flavors.
The key to good tempura (which, by the way, came to Japan via Portugal) is fresh ingredients prepared skillfully. If you’re feeling adventurous, order the teishoku (daily special), otherwise point to the appropriate plastic food display. Standard tempura foods include various meats and fish, root vegetables, eggplant, onion, squashes, and mushrooms.