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Here at RocketNews24, two of the things we love most are delicious foods in our bellies and cash in our wallets. Unfortunately, those two things don’t always go hand-in-hand, especially in the Michelin star-studded culinary landscape of Tokyo.

But in a city as big as Tokyo, you can find just about anything with a little searching. Even if you’re totally bereft of folding money, you can still get a great meal in Japan’s capital, and you don’t have to settle for eating at a fast food chain either. On the menu today: a nine-piece tempura meal in the heart of Tokyo for less than 1,000 yen (US$8).

Just as surprising as the price is the fact that Tempura Meshi Kaneko Hannosuke, the restaurant making this attractive offer is located in Nihonbashi, a decidedly high-rent district. As a matter of fact, the restaurant is just a three-minute walk from the Mitsukoshimae subway station, through which droves of blue-blooded shoppers pass on their way to the main branch of the Mitsukoshi department store.

We should start with the one negative point about Tempura Meshi Kaneko Hannosuke, though, which is that its reputation for quality and value means there’s usually a line, even if you show up in the rain like we did.

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Still, that’s about the only complaint you can make. Despite the affordably priced fare, the storefront and interior are as elegant as you’d expect of a Nihonbashi establishment.

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Inside, all of the seating is along a counter. Once we grabbed a seat, we ordered the 980-yen set meal. Only after we placed our order did the chef begin to cook our tempura, with the pieces being delivered as they finished frying. While we were waiting, we sipped the black soybean tea that comes with the set.

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Also included are rice and miso soup with clams

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…and you can also have as much pickled Chinese cabbage, shredded carrot and burdock root, or salted squid innards as you like (or as little as you like, if any of those three don’t sound particularly appetizing to you).

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Soon enough, our first batch of tempura was ready, and the staff placed the pieces on our plate. Before our eyes was a perfectly cooked selection of shrimp, squid, maitake mushroom, shishito green pepper, and a soft-boiled egg.

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▼ We decided to break the egg over our rice, then add a dash of soy sauce and shichimi pepper to make tempura-style tamago-kake gohan.

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The second round of tempura consisted of eggplant, goby, kabocha (a type of squash also often called “Japanese pumpkin”), and a chicken tender.

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If we had to pick an al-star out of the bunch, we’d give the award to the squid, which seemed to melt in our mouth as we bit into it. Honestly, though, the meal was fantastic across the board. We couldn’t help but feel like Tempura Meshi Kaneko Hannosuke is getting the short end of the stick charging so little for such high quality food, but at these prices, we can afford to go back and give the restaurant our continued support just about whenever we feel like it.

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Restaurant information
Tempura Meshi Kaneko Hannosuke
天ぷらめし 金子半之助
Address: Tokyo-to, Chuo-ku, Nihonbashi Honcho 1-4-3, Villa Art Nihonbashi 1st floor
東京都中央区日本橋本町1-4-3 ヴィラアート日本橋 1F
Open weekdays 11 a.m.-10 p.m., weekends and holidays 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
Closed during the end of the year/start of the new year

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