A Japanese dish named after a Chinese city

Society & Culture

The origin of "tenshindon" is unclear, but you can easily find it at almost every Chinese restaurant in Japan. We'll show you how to make it.

I first came across a Japanese-Chinese dish called tenshindon (天津丼 tiānjīn jǐng) on a Chinese cooking show on TV. “Tenshin” is Tianjin, a port city in northern China, while “don” in Japanese describes a rice bowl that comes with various toppings (what the Chinese know as a gàifàn 盖饭). It seemed strange to me that I’d never heard of this dish named after a Chinese city. The origin of tenshindon is unclear, but you can easily find it at almost every Chinese restaurant in Japan.

Tenshindon is basically a crab omelet on rice with a savory and hearty sauce. Some­times the omelet contains other ingredi­ents, such as shrimp, which is what we’ll be using today.

YIELD

Serves 1

TIME

25 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  • 45 g crab meat (or imitation crab meat), shredded
  • 4 medium or large shrimps, chopped
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 shiitake mushrooms, chopped
  • 3 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil (optional)
  • 1 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon starch mixed with 1 teaspoon water
  • Rice

tenshindon 2

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Pour 1 cup of chicken broth or water into a small pot. Add the chopped shiitake mushrooms, 1 tablespoon of soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of oyster sauce, a pinch of salt and black pepper to taste. Bring the pot to a boil and cook for about 5 minutes over low heat. Thicken the sauce with 1 teaspoon of starch and 1 teaspoon of water.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of cooking oil in a non-stick pan. Fry the chopped shrimps and shredded crab meat over medium heat for about 1 minute. Mix the shrimp, crab meat, and 2/3 of the chopped green onions with the beaten egg.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in the pan. Pour in the egg mixture and cook over medium heat. When the omelet is about half-cooked, turn it over with a spatula.
  4. Put the cooked rice in a small bowl and transfer upside-down onto a plate.
  5. Lay the omelet on top of the rice and pour the sauce over. Garnish with the rest of the chopped green onions.

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