[Kyoto, Japan] Tonkatsu at Katsukura Shijo Higashino toin (かつくら四条東洞院店)

One of my go-to places for tonkatsu is none other than Katsukura. The outlet I went to is the quieter one at the quiet alleyway Higashino toin-Dori, off the bustling Shijo-Dori. It’s just before Daimaru, if you’re walking east from Shijo subway station, and right across the road from Tokyu Hands.

Come early for lunch (before 12 noon) unless you are prepared to queue & wait for a seat in the narrow, packed dining area. Service is brisk, efficient and yet friendly.

A range of alcoholic drinks is available, from Japanese beers to sake & shochu. I opted for a yuzu-citron soda on a very hot day.

Pork tonkatsu is the way to go here (although they also have chicken, shrimp and beef options). There are a few grades of pork available, from top of the range Mangalica pork to local premium Sangen pork. I chose the premium Awabi pork from Tokushima - dark, cottony-textured, and amazingly sweet. The Yuba (beancurd skin) croquette rolled around vegetables was amazing.

Katsukura is ahead of its rivals when it comes to the sauces they offered: the original one (brewed using red wine, apples and dates, among other ingredients) and a “spicy” version (by Japanese standards, combining prunes, apples, red wine and perhaps some peppers - virtually undetectable to Singaporeans or those used to chili heat), which one can combine and mix to suit one’s palate, after grinding one’s own sesame seeds (goma), which lends a toasty, nutty aroma to the dip

The tonkatsu was stupendous - one of the best-ever I’d tasted. The accompanying steamed rice-barley and an earthy miso soup were both good.

Katsukura Shijo Higashino toin (かつくら四条東洞院店)
〒604-8143 Kyōto-fu, Kyōto-shi, Nakagyō-ku, Bantōyachō
Tel: 075-221-4191
Operating hours: 11am to 10pm daily