Anniversary Sale
Mom used to make tonkatsu and ebi-fry for us. It was a treat. But I hated the shredded raw cabbage on the side. None of my American friends were eating cabbage, let alone raw cabbage. It just seemed so industrial age.

The only way, I could force myself to enjoy the raw shredded cabbage was to load it up with Bulldog tonkatsu sauce.

Long gone are those days when I'd eat tonkatsu as a child in Cupertino. But two weeks ago, I was in Nagoya where I found myself in front of a plate of tonkatsu and ebi-fry. Nagoya is famous for its miso and tonkatsu, hence the regional specialty miso-katsu. We ended up in Yabacho for this and chose Yabaton as the scene of the crime.

It was not until my first bite that I had realized how much I missed my good friends tonkatsu and ebi-fry. I hadn't had tonkatsu since my childhood - as there aren't really any tonkatsu options in the states. You see, I am also not a big fan of pork and I had neglected tonkatsu since moving to Tokyo. But, I decided after this reunion, I'd to do away with my pork apprehension. Drenched in the stores' own version of tonkatsu sauce, and using the best part of the piggy (hire-tonkatsu) I finally realized the delicate and necessary balance of tonkatsu with raw cabbage. It took me a long time, but I finally understood the dish, objectively. Maybe it's like with some exes - you need time to step back to appreciate the big picture, and not just focus on the parts you didn't like.

Hire-tonkatsu and ebi-fry combo lunch set


Hire kushi-katsu


Front of store: Notice the sumo-piggy mascot


Menu in glass case at entrance of store


I closed my eyes and imagined my mom darting back and forth from the kitchen sink to the kitchen table, while my big sister was clearly drafting up a strategy in her head to have me eat her cabbage too. It's good to be home (kind of).

Yabaton
3-6-23 Osu
Nagoya, JAPAN
T: 052.241.2409
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3 comments

  • Yeah, I never thought of how the lettuce in the McDonald’s sandwiches served a similar purpose! Yeah, I was afraid, one Ebi Fry wasn’t gonna be enough, but this was pretty monstrous. Everything else except Ebi Fry and apple are huge in Japan – what a weird country.

    yoko on

  • I love tonkatsu…and the cabbage. It’s kind of like the lettuce in McDonald’s sandwiches…soaking up the oil but weirdly blandly delicious. Ebi fry is huge!

    Sonja on

  • omg you don’t like the cabbage?? I love it! I used to get a tub of just shredded cabbage and eat it with some soy sauce when I was growing up. SO GOOD! I need to look into stopping in Nagoya…

    seri on

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