As well as having incredible department store food halls (read more in this post), the Japanese also set the bar pretty darn high with their major train stations. In contrast to London stations where there might be a Pret, maybe a Caffe Nero and possibly even a small M&S, the big Japanese stations are basically shopping malls and usually have an area with a selection of restaurants. We were staying near Ueno station during our time in Tokyo, and ventured into the Atre restaurant mall to see what we could find.
We both quite fancied tonkatsu so we got a table in Katsukura. Tonkatsu (not tonkotsu – that’s ramen) is simply a fried, breaded cutlet of your choice of meat served with thinly sliced cabbage and a rich fruity sauce. Pork and shrimp cutlets are particularly popular, and they also sometimes have a creamy crab croquette which is pretty yummy too.
There will normally be a range of pots at the table which can contain different options for the fruity sauce, sometimes a spicy version, as well as other condiments, pickles and dressing for the cabbage. I chose the regular sauce for my pork tonkatsu and had the yuzu dressing in my cabbage – yum!
They also sometimes give you a bowl with a rough pattern inside with sesame seeds. You grind up the seeds, pour over your selection of sauce and use the bowl for dipping in the cutlet.
Tonkatsu is so simple, and so delicious and one of Mark’s favourite Japanese foods. The combination of rich and slightly tart sauce with the crispy cutlet and the fresh cabbage works so perfectly. I’ll have to make it at home sometime soon!