Affordable tempura don in Singapore
When I first heard of tendon, I was confused. There’s an entire Japanese dish made up of just animal tendon? Turns out I was sorely mistaken. Instead, tendon is a contraction short for “tempura donburi”. The dish features typical tempura ingredients topped on Japanese rice, and drizzled with a sweet-salty sauce.
Combining the gloriousness of fried food and rice, a bowl of tempura don fills you up deceptively well, and has become one of my favourite Japanese dishes. Here are some places to get a tendon hit on a budget!
1. Koh Grill and Sushi Bar
Image credit: @evirobiex
Koh Grill and Sushi Bar may be known for their Shiok Maki, but that isn’t the only reason why you should brave their long queues. At an affordable $10.90+, their Tendon doesn’t skimp on ingredients either. With prawns, vegetables, and a runny tempura egg, here’s something else to get on your next Shiok Maki fix.
Address: 435 Orchard Road, #04-21, Wisma Atria, Singapore 238877
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 10:30pm
Tel: 9180 3805
2. Kogane Yama
Kogane Yama switches up the rules of tendon by offering customisable sets. Instead of just plain ol’ rice, you can choose to change your carb to either soba or udon, at an additional $1++. Prawn Bowl ($13.80++) features a prawn head tempura; something that divides opinions, but is a personal favourite. They further break out from the norm with the additions of shiso leaf and seaweed tempura, which are both satisfyingly crunchy.
Check out our full review of Kogane Yama!
Address: 200 Victoria Street, #02-50, Bugis Junction, Singapore 188021
Opening hours: Sun-Thur 11am to 10pm (last order at 9:30pm), Fri-Sat 11am to 11pm (last order at 10:30pm)
Image credit: @manzoku_sg
Better known for their chirashi bowls, Manzoku nonetheless serves up a value-for-money tendon. Here, a thicker batter than usual is used, resulting in an extra crunchy bowl of Tendon ($14++). Their salmon sashimi ($12++) comes in extra thick slices, and makes a great accompaniment to the fried food.
Address: 18 Purvis Street, Singapore 188597
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am to 3pm, 6pm to 10pm, Sat-Sun 11:30am to 10pm
Tel: 6734 4436
4. Don Meijin
Located inside Ramen Champion at Bugis+, Don Meijin stands out by selling donburi inside a ramen-themed collective of stalls. They also stand out from other tendon shops, opting to swap out the typical dressing for a thick chilli crab sauce in their Spicy Chilli Crab Tendon ($14.80+). Packed with chunks of snow crab, the sauce is further accentuated with the addition of Japanese soy sauce and mirin, on top of the traditional tomato and egg mixture.
Check out our full review of Don Meijin!
Address: 201 Victoria Street, #04-10, Bugis+, Singapore 188067
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am to 10.30pm, Sat-Sun & PH 10:30am to 10:30pm
Tel: 6238 1011
5. Tendon Kohaku
Image credit: @kohakutendon
Tendon Kohaku was the first tendon I’ve ever eaten. When I first saw the small amount of rice, I thought I was going to have to go hungry for sure. Except things didn’t turn out that way. With chicken, prawn, squid, and other vegetables, Signature Kohaku Tendon ($15++) is bound to fill you up, and then some. I started with the meats first, and I was feeling full even before I started on the vegetables. Two people could probably be satisfied with their set meal, which comes with a bowl of udon for an additional $4.50++.
Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard, #03-310/311, Suntec City, Singapore 038983
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 4pm, 5pm to 10pm
Tel: 6333 4386
6. Tendon Ginza Itsuki
Image credit: @eviltattattat
Singapore’s first ever tendon speciality shop is a collab between the owners of Ginza Itsuki Sushi and Keisuke. And like most other Keisuke outlets, Tendon Ginza Itsuki also sees long queues during meal times. Get their Special Tendon ($13.90++), which features prawns, chicken, and a tempura egg, along with vegetables.
Address: 101 Tanjong Pagar Road, Singapore 088522
Opening hours: Daily 11:30am to 2:30pm, 5:30pm to 10pm
Tel: 6221 6678
This humble kopitiam stall features tendon like you’ve never seen it before. Don’s Salted Egg Yolk Tempura Don ($9.90) will have you rethinking your life. Instead of a salted egg sauce, the tempura here is coated with a savoury salted egg powder, and topped with an onsen egg and pickled vegetables. Salted egg everything has finally caught up with Singapore’s other trend – Japanese food.
Check out our full review of Don!
Address: 30 Foch Road, #01-02, Singapore 209276
Operating hours: Thur-Tue 11am to 3pm, 6pm to 9:30pm
Tel: 9119 2619
8. Konomi Zen
Konomi Zen’s humble ambience belies its quality. With their Tendon going at an astounding $5, you be thinking you just got away with a deal so good it should be illegal. In return, you’ll get one prawn, a piece of tilapia, carrot, and shiitake mushroom. The quality here might not beat that of tendon restaurants, but at least you’ll be satisfied. Tip: ask for more dipping sauce, as the plain rice can get a little dry.
Check out our full review of Konomi Zen!
Address: 628 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4, #01-59, Ang Mo Kio 628 Market & Food Centre, Singapore 560628
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11am to 8pm
Tel: 9734 8875
Image credit: @cathaylifestyle
Opened by Japanese food giant MOF, Tensho now boasts of four outlets around Singapore. Their Mixed Tendon ($14.90++) uses Hitomebore rice, which is a smaller grain that is slightly sweeter than most. Hidden inside the mountain of tempura lies an onsen egg, which can be used to elevate your rice, making it a better complement to your fried prawn and dory fish slices.
Address: 176 Orchard Road, The Centrepoint, #B1-20, Singapore 238843
Opening hours: Sun-Thur 11:30am to 10pm, Fri-Sat 11.30am to 10:30pm
Tel: 6733 0449
Website | Full list of outlets
Ten-don miss out
While tendon restaurants might be a relatively new trend, having only arrived properly on our shores in 2015, its burgeoning popularity proves our love for fried food and rice. Did we miss out on any other budget tempura don? Let us know in the comments!