Mentioned Japanese breaded pork cutlet (tonkatsu) a few months ago and i would likely give you a long tirade on why i don't understand what's the big deal about it!
Trust me, i tried quite a few in Singapore to confirm and reaffirm that Teriyaki Chicken tasted way better than Tonkatsu. At least that's what i assumed to be correct before i stepped into Saboten - on Kon's persuasive recommendation.
Back in its country of origin, Saboten is one of the largest tonkatsu chain and i vaguely remember one branch in Bangkok that perpetually had the longest queue among other food establishments.
Ordering the signature Pork Loin Katsu Set (Large) is the best way to give a fair judgment and what appeared shortly on the table caught me by surprise; plain shredded cabbage, a bowl filled with sesame seeds and a wooden stick.
In all honesty, i would have taken the initiative to sprinkle the sesame seeds on the cabbage and pounded them using the stick!
Not to fret if it is your virgin visit, the friendly service staff would actually go through with you, step by step, on what to do. For example, that these two sauces housed in crystallised bottles were for the cabbage. [Kon took over the job as he is a regular of Saboten]!
Depending on your preference, you could choose to have the dark sauce (supposedly a vinegar that was yuzu based) or the creamy white sesame dressing. I went for a mixture of both and was extremely delighted with this tasty yet healthy combination!
To ensure that you get the most out of those raw sesame seeds, you must do your part by grinding them yourselves! Not a hard chore although i did spend a while to make sure they were grated as finely as possible.
That's not all - please find the earthen urn on your table, scoop up a generous amount of the essential tonkatsu sauce and drench the by-now-powdery sesame seeds! Damn, so much prep work just to have a piece of deep fried pork?!
By the look of the breaded pork loin cutlet, i was half expecting a disappointment like many others before this. Maybe the problem lies with me. Nevertheless, i paid good money for the cutlet and i don't waste food.
I cut a small piece, dipped it into the sauce that took me a lot of time and effort, put it in my mouth and started chewing. Have you ever gotten that exaggerated feeling of fireworks exploding around you when you are really happy with something?
I did on that very evening at Saboten.
Crunchy golden crust that didn't oozed oil, pork that was optimally moisturized, self-made concoction of yummy sauce; factors that were merely complementaries to a great dish. The deciding factor was no doubt the sinful layer of glistening pork fat!!
Craving for tonkatsu used to be impossible. Now? I have been freaking craving for a piece of that marvellous pork from Saboten for the past few weeks!
9 Raffles Boulevard, #P3-01,
Parco Marina Bay, Millenia Walk
Pork Loin Katsu Set (Large) - S$23
[Subject to GST and Service Charge]
The set was really worth the price! A scoop of a mildly bitter green tea (matcha) ice cream was included to conclude a pretty heavy meal.
And did i forget to mention that this bowl of simply delicious miso soup was also packaged within the set. And best of all? You pay S$23 and get FREE REFILL of rice, miso soup and cabbage!
That's what i call a damn good deal!