Who needs tongs when you’ve got five perfectly-good, easily-burned fingers right there?

After her ability to put up with their son’s buffoonery, my parents would probably say my wife’s talent they admire most is her ability to cook delicious tempura. So when we go to visit, she often whips up a batch for them, and she even keeps a special pair of long cooking chopsticks that she leaves in my parents’ kitchen specifically for that purpose.

But apparently cooking chopsticks aren’t always necessary when cooking deep-fried tempura morsels. Japanese Twitter user @Yuku1991 recently let the world know about his favorite restaurant, a tempura joint called Tenkin that’s located in front of Hamamatsu Station in Shizuoka Prefecture. On a recent visit, he filmed Tenkin’s owner/chef making tempura by dunking his bare hand into a pot of sizzling cooking oil!

In the video, the chef has a bowl of egg yolks in his left hand. One after another, he slides a yolk into his right hand,  lowers it into a separate bowl of tempura batter, and then inserts the yolk, plus his fingers, into a pan of boiling oil, before nonchalantly repeating the process with the next egg.

Multiple commenters wondered if maybe the chef was only able to do this because he’d already lost all feeling in his right hand, but Twitter user @taiyakiudon offered another, less grizzly explanation.

@taiyakiudon believes this is an example of the Leidenfrost effect, named after 18th century scientist Johann Gottlob Leidenfrost. When a liquid is close to another substance that’s much hotter than the liquid’s boiling point, a vapor is produced that causes an insulating effect. Since the chef’s hand is coated with the comparatively cold batter, his skin isn’t damaged by its brief dip in pan of boiling oil.

That said, this still isn’t something you should try at home (unless you’re a squatter who’s set up camp in your local hospital’s burn ward). There’s a limit to how long that batter is going to keep your hand safe, so unless you’ve got the muscle memory and experience for the speedy and precise movements Tenkin’s chef is making, you’ll want to use cooking chopsticks, tongs, or some other substitute for your fleshy digits. It’s also worth pointing out that the chef only appears to be engaging in bare-knuckled cooking for the initial part of the cooking process, as we don’t see him using his bare hands to extract any ready-to-eat pieces of tempura.

Oh, and if you’re worried that the chef’s unorthodox cooking method is a sign that he can’t be bothered to cook tempura the “right” way, the photo of the restaurant’s marque tendon, a tempura bowl with shrimp and fish as well as egg, suggests otherwise, as it appears to be cooked to perfection.

It’s only 1,000 yen (US$9) too, which is a great price, especially when you consider that you get a thrilling, burn-defying show too.

Restaurant information
Tenkin / 天錦
Address: Shizuoka-ken, Hamamatsu-shi, Naka-ku, Tamachi 325-29
Open 11 a.m.-1:20 p.m., 5 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Closed Wednesdays

Source: Twitter/@Yuku1991 via Hachima Kiko