Menchi-katsu / how we eat them

Ok, you bought back a pack of Menchi-katsu from a deli. How shall we eat them ?

First, heat them. Put them in an oven or an oven toaster and heat them up in low temp. We want to keep the outer breaded part crispy, not burnt but yet the center part warm. Microwave will make the other shell soft and that is a no-no.

You will need a sauce to go with the Menchi-katsu. There are no definite rule to this. Some prefer soy sauce, some light Japanese Worcestershire sauce, we like it with tonkatsu sauce. Tonkatsu sauce is slightly thicker than Japanese style Worcestershire sauce. To be more complicated, there are endless varieties of Tonkatsu sauce. Some are sweeter, some spicier, there are lots of local brand, eg. Tokyo (Kanto) style, Osaka(Kansai) style, Nagoya (Cyubu) style, Fukuoka (kyusyu) and everybody have their own preference, depending on where you grew up, etc. Start with the major brand which are sold worldwide, then explore the locals.

✔︎ Heat the Menchi-katsu

✔︎ Get those sauce. Soy-sauce / Worcestershire sauce / Tonkatsu sauce

Next, we need some veggies and the breaded deep fried food always comes with a thinly shredded raw cabbage. It absorbs the oils on the plate and said to reset our mouth from the oily-ness of the deep fried food. The shredded cabbage is a must for an authentic look to your presentation but the rest is up to you. If you want to go toward the old school presentation, top it with some Japanese style potato salad ( in the picture above is a potato salad topped with Korean pickled plum marinated in chili sauce) . I had some cucumber & tofu salad so I placed all in one plate. ( See picture above)

✔︎ Prepare the plate by placing the shredded cabbage in the upper center, if you have any other side veggies, place it on the side of the cabbage and place the Menchi-katsu in front of cabbage.

When you’re done preparing the main plate with Menchi-katsu, you will need a bowl of rice & miso soup. In the picture above I topped the bowl of rice with some pickles but that is just something extra. A plain simple bowl of rice will be perfect. Any kind of miso soup will be ok. The simplest will be tofu and scallion but you can be creative with seasonal veggies.

✔︎ Prepare the rice in a rice bowl.

✔︎ Prepare a bowl of simple miso soup.

A little note about table setting. When you place the plates and bowls, people always debate about which side should the rice bowl goes (Left or right side). This is my theory : Japanese people lift the rice bowl up and hold it when we eat the rice. We usually hold chopstick with our right hand, therefore will use left hand to lift the rice bowl so for me, rice bowl will be placed on the left. Miso soup can be set on either side but for the same reason, I usually place it on the left side, above the rice. The chopstick are usually placed at the bottom.

If you had read this up to this part, perfect! But wait, where can we get those Menchi-Katsu if not living in Japan?

If you can’t buy it, just make them at home! The next post will be about homemade Menchi-katsu!


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