Japanese rice ball “onigiri” is a recipe as ancient as Japan itself. So when someone makes a variation of it, and such variation sticks and gets famous, everyone must respect. Introducing the “Tenmusu”!
So you probably tried the Japanese rice ball. That’s what one would eat in a hurry, or when wanting a hassle free quick meal. Whereas a westerner would eat a sandwich or another sort of snack, “onigiri” are their practical Japanese counterparts. Widely consumed everywhere, they are as old as the culture of rice itself.
But it seems that the people of Aichi, as always, got bored with the traditional food and invented. And, again as always, found genius in turning them into a little marvel of the fast-food universe: individually deep-fried battered shrimp “tempura”, cozily tucked inside a small rice ball, and wrapped with a foil of dry laver “nori”. Diverging from regular onigiri, which uses salt for seasoning the rice, all the Tenmusu flavor comes solely from the light shrimp dressing and the marginally salted nori. Which all makes this particularly cute snack (the little crustacean tail pops out of the skirt-looking nori cone! How cuter can it get?) a small culinary wonder.
The people of Tsushima, a town to the west of Nagoya, who originally created the Tenmusu, deserves our utmost respect for transforming the millennial onigiri into this lustful and fulfilling meal!