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Tempura can usually be ordered by the piece, but many people prefer the more economical set meal (teishoku). The teishoku includes several varieties of tempura, plus rice, pickles, and soup (like in the picture la). Various sizes of teishoku are available, differing in the number of pieces of tempura. The most popular seafood items include prawns, squid, shrimp, scallops, kisu (a type of smelt), and other kinds of fish. Many varieties of vegetable are also available, including eggplant, lotus root, green pepper, sweet potato, squash, shiitake mushroom, onion, shiso (perilla) leaf, and carrot. In addition to using the freshest ingredients, the next most important factor in good tempura is the quality of the batter, which is made from eggs, flour, and ice water. The vegetables and seafood are cut, washed, dried, and dipped in the batter to give them a thin, almost transparent coating. After this they're dropped one at a time into the oil (a combination of vegetable and sesame oil), which must be constantly kept at exactly the right temperature. Finally, the tempura must be cooked for just the right amount of time, pulled out of the oil the precise moment it's done. If all goes well, the final product is perfect tempura -- crisp, golden brown, hot, and delicious. Yum! Yum! Sedapppp....!!!