Tonkatsu: An Ode to Pork

Garlic Stuffed Tonkatsu: Japanese Pork Chop

You’ve never had pork until you’ve had pork in Japan.  Just like beef, Japan has designer pork farms, areas that are known for it, and many grades of pork.  And just like well-marbled beef, Japanese pork is amazingly tender, juicy, soft, and weaved with tasty fat.

Tonkatsu Ichinomiya

The easiest and best way to try pork in Japan is to go to one of the many tonkatsu (pronounced: tuhn-kah-tsue) restaurants.  Tonkatsu was introduced to Japan by the Portuguese in the 1800s.  It was originally made with beef, but after a western-style restaurant in Ginza served it with pork in 1890, it became a hit and a classic.  We happened to be in Chiba last week so we visited the original location of a popular restaurant in Daimon, Musashiya that serves garlic-stuffed tonkatsu!

This restaurant serves up Sangenton pork, which is a hybrid of pork made from 3 breeds of pigs (I guess it would be a tri-brid then?).  A typical tonkatsu teishoku (set meal) comes with a fried pork cutlet, cabbage, pickles, rice, and miso soup.  There’s usually a few sauces and seasonings on the table to add to your tonkatsu and cabbage – a heavier and thicker worcestershire sauce, a thinner worcestershire sauce, hot mustard, and salt.  Try them all and see what floats your boat!

Personally, I love the thinner worcestershire sauce on my cabbage, and mustard and salt on my tonkatsu because they don’t overwhelm the flavor of the pork.  Have you had tonkatsu?  What sauces do you add to it?

7422-1 Torami Ichinomiya, Chiba 299-4303


6 thoughts on “Tonkatsu: An Ode to Pork

  1. My way of eating tonkatsu is to start plain without any condiments. It seems the best way to savour the sweetness of the meat within. After a few bites and I am feeling the effects of the oil, I will drizzle thinner worchester sauce over it. My must-have is tons and tons of cabbage ^^b

    • Hahaha I agree!! I think eating a few without any condiments is the best way too. But boy does that oil catch up to your taste buds. Hot tea helps though :)

  2. Yum! I was introduced to this mom-and-pop shop in Fujisawa about 18 years ago, and they had already been there for a million years, and it is absolutely the best. I took my mom and her friend (10 years ago?), and ever since then they have been trying to find a place in the states that serves good tonkatsu. Unfortunately, there really isn’t ANY place that has been even half as good… Maybe I should have tonkatsu tonight!
    The ‘mille-feuille’ tonkatsu is pretty good too!!

  3. Pingback: Koyo: Autumn Leaves in Japan | oh my omiyage

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