Saboten Japanese Cutlet
Nelson: When I was five and visiting Japan the first time, I would only eat Tonkatsu - Japanese deep fried pork cutlet. Naturally my Aunt took us there for our first dinner out.
Saboten is a famous Japanese chain that specializes in pork cutlet. The fun part is that when you arrive, black and white sesame seeds come in a small ball for you to grind with a provided wooden pestle. The incredible smell this produces is unreal. I had no idea that sesame seeds had such a strong pleasing aroma! Once they are grounded as finely as you see fit, you add tonkatsu sauce to make the perfect dip.
The perfect dip goes well with the perfectly fried and breaded pork cutlet that arrives hot on top of a raised grate. You can order different amounts of fattiness - this one is medium - which you can see pure pork fat at the very top. The breading is so good because it is not too oily, but very crisp. My only complaint is that it didn't stick to the pork very well. The pork cutlet taste was really good, only made better by dipping in the tonkatsu/sesame sauce which made me savour every last bite.
The meal also comes with AYCE rice, miso soup and of course cabbage. Shredded cabbage is the traditional vegetable that goes with Tonkatsu and I enjoyed mine with some more tonkatsu sauce, although there is also ponzu available if you prefer. The miso soup was way too salty for me to drink which was a recurring them on the trip. There were also some pickled vegetables (not pictured).
I love Tonkatsu, and this meal was wonderful. The sesame seed grinding was really unique, fun and fragrant!
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