Deep-fried, crunchy, and juicy: it is hard to say no to tonkatsu, which these nine restaurants in Singapore do exceptionally well.
Tonkatsu was first served in Japan around the turn of the 20th century when Japanese restaurants started to introduce more Western-style dishes, which were later on referred to as yoshoku. Similar to a German schnitzel, tonkatsu is a pork cutlet that has been coated in panko breadcrumbs and then deep-fried.
In general, there are two cuts of pork used for tonkatsu. Hire-katsu, or pork fillet, is a lean pork tenderloin that is lighter in taste, lower in calories, and known to be the highest-grade tonkatsu. There is also rosu-katsu, or pork loin, which is richer thanks to a layer of juicy fat.
The hearty dish typically comes with a smear of spicy yellow mustard, a bowl of pearly white rice, a hearty mountain of thinly sliced cabbage, miso soup, and some tonkatsu sauce on the side. Certain restaurants also serve toasted sesame seeds that diners can grind with a mortar and pestle for a beautiful nutty aroma, which is then added to the sauce.
10 best tonkatsu restaurants in Singapore
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Anzu was originally a farm-to-table concept in Kyushu, which is where the Singapore location imports its vegetables from. The meat is also aged further to concentrate its flavour, and both the loin and the fillet are offered in a regular or thick cut. Diners have the options to add ginger sauce or grated radish and green onion or order tonkatsu in sando form.
(Image credit: GINZA ANZU SG / Facebook)
Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen is helmed by Chef Tan-San, who brings with him a wealth of over 20 years of experience in the art of tonkatsu. Here, they specialise in the Nagoya-style tonkatsu, which sees a beautiful black miso sauce drizzle on side of the crispy cutlet. Besides their mains, sides like the juicy pan-fried Gyoza are popular too.
(Image credit: Hajime Tonkatsu & Ramen / Facebook)
Imakatsu is most known for three things in particular: its special double-frying method, original sauces, and careful selection of ingredients. The Star Vista outlet, which opened in 2014, is Imakatsu’s first overseas outpost and the only tonkatsu store in the Buona Vista area. Crowd favourites include the premium pork Loin cutlet zen, the mentaiko loin cutlet zen, and the pork loin cutlet curry.
(Image credit: Imakatsu Star Vista / Facebook)
Maruhachi is a tonkatsu chain owned by August Wijaya, who used to cook at a tonkatsu restaurant in ION. His speciality is perfecting the light and crispy panko breadcrumb batter, and he also fries the tonkatsu using cottonseed oil, which is healthier and less greasy. Besides the regular sets of cabbage, rice, and miso soup, Maruhachi also serves katsudon (pork cutlet and egg rice bowl) and katsu curry.
(Image credit: Maruhachi / Facebook)
Onkei’s attention is firmly on both tonkatsu and its accompaniments. The meat is aged to make it more tender and breaded with fresh panko. In the set, there is an option for Hokkaido white rice or Japanese multigrain rice, and it comes with tonjiru soup, which has been simmered for 12 hours with pork, yam jelly, beancurd skin, and red and white carrots. The cheese tonkatsu is also a crowd favourite.
(Image credit: @wongomakans / Instagram)
Formerly in the basement of Takashimaya, Romankan specialises in serving tonkatsu at affordable prices. The gravy with katsu curry comes separately, which you pour over pork, rice, potato wedges, and broccoli, while rosu katsu ni teisyoku sees pork loin cutlets served on a hot plate. The meat also comes in a sandwich set consisting of two sandos, wedges, and salad.
(Image credit: @myfooddiarysg / Instagram)
With over 500 stores worldwide, it’s safe to say that there must be something special about the tonkatsu from Saboten. From choices like the classic tenderloin katsu and grated radish loin katsu gozen to the decadent cheese tenderloin and loin katsu gozen, take your pick and have your fill with any of these battered beauties. Guests who prefer a variety should go for the twin tenderloin gozen, a sharing platter that’s generously filled with tonkatsu, shrimp, and salmon pieces.
(Image credit: Saboten / Facebook)
Ask any local about tonkatsu and they would almost immediately think of Tampopo. This comes as a surprise for first-timers, especially since their extensive menu boasts a whole range of dishes from fresh sashimi to hearty bowls of udon. Yet, it is their addictive golden cutlets that keep diners coming back for more each time. If you’re new to the restaurant, we highly recommend the top-grade BP tonkatsu set, a Tampopo signature that makes use of cuts from the prized black pig.
(Image credit: TAMPOPO (SINGAPORE) / Facebook)
If you’re craving thick, juicy cuts of tonkatsu while you’re shopping along Somerset, make sure to stop at Tonkatsu by Ma Maison. Here, we recommend the succulent kurobuta rosu katsu, a two-centimetre thick cut that’s been aged for several days before being deep-fried to crispy, golden perfection. If you’re not up for pork, the casual diner also serves a mean chicken cheese roll katsu set, complete with katsu-style chicken rolled with cheese and vegetables. Hungry guests don’t have to fret — the rice, cabbage and miso soup sides are refillable with every order.
(Image credit: Ma Maison Restaurant Singapore / Facebook)
Tonkichi first opened its doors to Singaporean diners in 1992, making it one of the undisputed pioneers of tonkatsu speciality joints on our shores. Besides favourites like the kurobuta kata rosu set and the hire katsu set, they’ve also introduced seafood into the mix: think prawn, oysters, and crab croquettes for a neat selection that’s sure to satisfy everyone at the table.
(Image credit: Tonkichi Singapore / Facebook)
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