Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cactus Pork Cutlet (Actually Saboten Tonkatsu)

Tried Saboten at Parco today, because I wanted to compare the taste between it and the ones in japan. I was mostly satisfied :D

Saboten is everywhere and you can never miss it. I eat so much Saboten (another one is Wako) that i probably can proudly say that I can remember its unique texture and taste lol. Just like how Singaporeans can pick up any subtle differences when they have local Singapore food in a foreign country. (Yeah.. the laksa in Tokyo is chotto...)

So, when i first had it, the first thought that popped up in my mind was OMG this is like the best tonkatsu ever! I even told my friend who was planning a trip to tokyo at that time about it, saying i would bring him there when he visited, not knowing that they already(?) have a branch in Singapore. And when I had Tonkichi again in Singapore, it suddenly wasn't that awesome anymore. Guess this is a case where my tongue has gotten thick. An idiomatic saying that means you are so used to good food that you can tell good from bad and will not settle for inferior taste (ever again) :x

They don't have my usual 健美豚 nor 三元麦豚 katsu!  :3
Or maybe they renamed it in Sg...

So how do you tell the difference between rosu and hire?
Rosu is the juicier and FATTIER one. Hire is just lean meat. If you are thinking of asking me how to remember which is which? Don't! Coz i also donno :x The word hire just sounds "meaty" to me. I usually go for rosu because it's nicer. Never mind the fatty sinfulness :x Good rosu are really very... good, for a lack of better word. So it's worth the money.

Oh they have oolong tea! A common drink available in restaurants in Japan but strangely, non-existing in Singapore's Japanese restaurants. So this is a rare find!
+10 points!! 

Freeflow rice, miso soup and cabbage! exactly the same as the original.

I asked if they had a choice of normal white rice or barley rice. Coz the uncle waiter didn't ask me which rice i wanted. I thought he forgotten! :3 But too bad, this choice of rice concept wasn't imported over to Singapore. I really love their barley rice. The uncle even emphasized the white rice they use is the PEARL ONE :x ok.. ok.. I know. Not indian rice.

A page from the menu explaining the history.
Nishi shinjuku <333

Speaking of tonkatsu, ton means pig/pork while katsu is the shortened japanese way of saying cutlet, which is katsuretsu. You say what? it doesn't even sound the same! Speak fast enough it will sound like cutlet lor, somewhat haha :x Anyway, long long time ago (actually not that long. About 19th century), Japanese had got bad ears for foreign sounds. Some say even till now also. So "cutlet" had to be approximated to "katsuretsu" when they had to do transliteration for the word. Plus they don't have final consonant sound (except for n), so the next best syllable to take the place was... tsu! And so, the word stuck on since then.

Enough of boring history, let's just look at the other pretty pics.

The pot of tonkatsu sauce is the same :D
The cabbage salad dressings (not shown) were exactly the same too. Happy.

Yummy~~ One scoop.

oo! The difference is the additional word in romaji! lolx

Bit disappointed with the tiny side dish. Only one dish of boring pickle! 
There should be three different side dishes instead.
Alas, no gobo... :( Please bring them in!

My rosu katsu.  Didn't come with a food tray. But never mind.
The look and crispiness of the bread crumbs: 100% same!
Taste of meat: ONAJI!!

Saboten special set. I ate half a prawn. The tail part. Up to standard :D
Can't remember if the miso should have mushrooms or clams,
because the ones we were served contained neither. 
(Or maybe the tonkatsu chain that has clams-in-miso-soup is wako.)

The dessert maccha ice cream. 
Not bad, but quite... forgettable.
Since they are not the selling point anyway, it's forgivable?
But good la, coz they never serve ice cream in the japan branches. i only kept drinking tea.

 The interior of the place. Bad pic lol sorry. 
I do love the booth seats. They are covered in the saboten motifs.

The wait staff also took the trouble to speak in Japanese which is good. So cute when they blah blah in japanese to you before clearing the table and then blah blah again and do a little bow before leaving. But some auntie obviously need to practise more coz I couldn't understand her at all... She like tried to smoke her way out by slurring all the way. Auntie, 加油!Enunciate! All in all, it was a good experience, and the food was good. I WILL definitely go back again when I'm back in singapore to ease my craving for good tonkatsu <3

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