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Confession of a non-Japanese food lover. Right, I admit. I’m not the biggest fan of Jap food, while others rave about the freshness of the sashimi, I stared at them and wondered why they like to eat raw seafood. When others sipped and finished their bowl of ramen, I’m quietly thinking of my wanton mee. But, I can’t stop myself eating Tonkatsu, whenever I enter a Japanese restaurant.
The inevitable thing happened when I stepped into Tonkichi, thoughts of the excellent Kurobuta pork cutlet that I had at Tampopo, flowed into my mind. And of course, the visit here was because friends have always recommended Tonkichi for their famous tonkatsu. The interior is very simple, smaller than what I expected from the outside, with a comprehensive menu to showcase their speciality.
And this is where the main difference between Tonkichi and Tampopo lies. The latter offers a wide range of Japanese food, with Katsu and ramen as their signatures, the former does what they’re best in, Tonkatsu. They have the hire and rosu katsu of course, but there are also other set combinations to try their prawn, oyster, crab with their katsu.
Eggs are my favourite, and fried eggs with white rice can satisfied me. I’m a simple person with a simple taste bud, really. But somehow I do not fancy the Chawanmushi ($3.50). I guess the problem is steamed eggs and I simply do not get along. Nonetheless, my friend enjoyed the starter, and finished it fast enough.
Somebody once told me that Japanese potato salad ($3.50) is very good. It surely represented what an appetiser was about, light and simple, something to get your engines, or rather stomach going.
We were expecting the tonkatsu to be the star since Tonkichi is famous for it. But instead, we found ourselves falling in love with this instead. Man, the simmered pork belly was just so, so good! Well it tasted akin to our Chinese braised pork belly, everything was perfect. My friend was contemplating to order another serving, but we decided to come back to Tonkichi again, just for the divine Buta Kakuni ($6.50).
I was somewhat disappointed by the supposedly signature dish, Rosu Katsu ($20). There was the option of going for the premium tonkatsu set, but since I tried the normal grade pork loin at Tampopo last time, I wanted to give them a equal footing for the comparison. Sadly to say, I felt that the rosu katsu here didn’t quite match up to the one I had before. While there was a layer of fats underneath the crispy exterior, but the katsu somehow just lacked the oomph factor.
Adding a few more bucks, gets you the Oyster & Rosu Katsu set ($24.50). The same goes for the rosu katsu, while my friend who is a big fan of oyster dutifully chomped down both oysters while leaving the katsu unfinished.
Total bill was $68.25 for two person. The conclusion was quite clear-cut, I’ll like to think that Tampopo serves a meaner and better Tonkatsu, well the best I ever tried so far. But I’ll certainly come back to Tonkichi, just for their Buta Kakuni.
You are always welcome to visit ladyironchef for a full-up on this trip. Whatever written herein are my genuine feelings expressed in words. Food, my dear, is what they call an adventure!
A farewell dinner for a fellow colleague brought us to her much-loved dining place before her departure – known as the only Tonkatsu Specialty chain restaurant in Singapore that serves authentic Tonkatsu – Tonkichi has 3 outlets in Singapore, Ngee Ann City, Suntec City and Isetan Scotts. We were at the Ngee Ann City outlet.
The interesting thing at Tonkichi is that while waiting for the food to come, they made you work for your food.
Each of us is given a bowl of sesame seeds to grind and pound, until it is fine enough to mix it with the thick Japanese Worcestershire Sauce called Tonkatsu Sauce.
While waiting, we also ordered the Chawanmushi, which was pretty delicious I must say.
The ingredients were generous, unlike many others who often take their customer for a ride, and the egg was soft and silky – easy for the throat. The Hire Katsu, or Deep Fried Pork Fillet along with the Ebi Furai, or the Fried Breaded Prawns, were the first to arrive.
Highly recommended by my colleague, the prawns were fresh and crunchy, being firm and yet providing contrast to the texture of the Panko, or Japanese Bread Crumbs. However, I was not impressed by the Hire Katsu, preferring the one I had at Tampopo. I felt that the meat though tender, lacked the texture and taste of pork. For a dollar lesser, I actually preferred the Rosu Kastu, or the Deep Fried Pork Loin.
Though the texture being slightly tougher, I like the bite of the meat – what a real piece of pork should taste like! What’s more they also give you unlimited refills of a finely shredded lettuce to lessen the guilt in your conscience after eating all that fried stuff.
You can view the photos and other reviews @ His Food Blog.
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