Whenever I go to a Japanese restaurant, my eyes instantly light up when I see Tonkatsu on the menu. So let me explain what exactly is the charm in this breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet of Japanese origin.
Good tonkatsus have its crisp exterior aromatically fried, while its interior remains exquisitely tender and juicy. And, it is often served with shredded cabbage and rice to nullify the oiliness.
Although Tonkatsu is a very simple dish, it is hard to find one that is fried to perfection.
This guide is here to help you wave your Tonkatsu troubles away, and list the best tonkatsus in Singapore.
This tonkatsu from Pecori was a joy. Generous in portion, the tonkatsu was crispy and incredibly juicy. The mushroom gravy was light in comparison to the tonkatsu which made it a balanced meal. Had the omelette been fluffier, the meal would have been perfect.
Pecori Japanese Egg Restaurant: 177 River Valley Road, Liang Court Shopping Centre, Singapore 179030 | Opening Hours: Daily, 11am – 10pm | Tel: +65 92344930 | Website
The Otsumami Truffle Tonkatsu ($13.80) is a must-try here. Novel and delicious, this is for all you truffle lovers out there. The deep fried cutlet is sprayed with a layer of truffle oil when it is served to you, accompanied by truffle salt for you to dip in.
If you’re into traditional tonkatsu, go for the Rosu & Hire Katsu (Deep-fried Pork Loin and Pork Fillet $24.80). This is one of the crunchiest tonkatsu I have come across in the lion city. If you want to jazz up your tonkatsu a little, order the Foie-gras Katsu (Deep-fried Pork Fillet Stuffed Foie-Gras) $30.80. Packed with fatty goodness, you know it will not disappoint.
Tonzaemon Tonkatsu: 30 Victoria Street #01-09 CHIJMES Singapore 187996 | Opening Hours: Mon – Sun 11.30am – 3.00pm & 5.30pm – 11.00pm | Tel: 63385907 | Website
For the more adventurous, Monster Curry is a better option, especially for those who like their katsu hot and spicy. Monster Curry have 5 levels of spicyness. Level 2 was pretty okay, in my opinion, but try at your own risk for anything above that.
The Pork Katsu ($14) is a pretty big serving. You get to pick your level of spiciness too. The curry was smooth and flavourful whilst the pork katsu was succulent. Not bad for a price like that.
Monster Curry: 23 Serangoon Central #B1-08 NEX Serangoon Singapore 556083 | Opening Hours: daily, 10am – 10pm | Tel: 6634 2168 | Website
Tonkatsu Ginza Barin’s Special Kurobuta Katsu-don ($22.50) is one of my favourite tonkatsu dons in Singapore. Each time I come back to visit, I go to Tonkatsu Ginza Barin for some sinful tonkatsu with luscious egg.
The pork fillet could have been more tender but the egg, oh the egg. The oozing yolk from the egg resting on top is the cherry atop and what differentiates it from most tonkatsus I have had in Singapore. The yolk is unbelievably silky too, mmm…
At Hajime, Premium Pork Loin ($19) is served with yuzu miso soup, free flow cabbage and rice. The tonkatsu was extremely tender and mixed well with the sauce and sesame seeds. One bowl of rice isn’t enough to finish the pork loin.
The Curry Tonkatsu Don ($17.90) at Sushi Bar is pretty up there in my list of tonkatsus in Singapore. The curry is warm and thick but yet not as heavy because there aren’t as many potatoes in the curry. The tonkatsu is also lighter than your average tonkatsu but still retains its crispy goodness, especially at the edges of the pork cutlet.
The Sushi Bar Dining: 14 Scotts Road ,Far East Plaza #04-28, Singapore 228213 | Opening Hours: Mon – Thurs 11.30am – 3.30pm & 5pm – 9.30pm, Fri & Sat 11.30am – 9.30pm | Tel:9653 6464 | Website
Tampopo’s tonkatsu (loin cutlet for $21.80) isn’t like any other. Instead of frying the entire piece of breaded pork, cutlet is thinly sliced and put together into a single cutlet and deep fried so that the meat is as light and tender as it can be.
This is a refreshing twist to your usual tonkatsu meal and leaves space for you to gobble on some dessert, of which they have a great selection of.
Tampopo: 177 River Valley Road #01-23/24 Liang Court Shopping Centre Singapore 179030 | Opening Hours: Daily, 11.30am – 10.30pm | Tel: 63383186 | Website
Often known as the Mille-Feuille version of tonkatsu, the Cheese Tonkatsu ($26.90) at Tonkatsu by Ma Maison is an epic combination of melt-in-your-mouth mozzarella cheese that breaks into golden lava when you bite into the breaded cutlet. Hands down one of the best tonkatsus in town.
If you have a huge appetite, or a friend to share with (like I did, thankfully!), go for the Jumbo Kurobuta Rosu Katsu ($43.80). Weighing at 250g, this juicy slab of deep fried porky goodness will fill you up in no time. Juicier than your average katsu, my heart has a soft spot for anything kurobuta (black pig) now.
Tonkatsu by Ma Maison: 333A Orchard Road #02-35/36 Mandarin Gallery Singapore 238897 | Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 5pm – 10pm & 11am – 3pm, Sat 11am – 10pm, Closed on Sundays | Tel: 6338 4819 | Website
Saboten’s Loin Katsu Don Gozen ($21.00) is undoubtedly the star of its menu. Its crunchy exterior falls apart perfecting as you bite into its tender meat as wafts of steam whips up the air around you. The runny egg that surrounds it makes it all the more delicious.
What makes the tonkatsu really special at Saboten, however, is the katsu sauce. You have to use the Shiso wood to separate the husks from the sesame seeds that you can ask for. Then, pour in the katsu sauce, and dip your golden-brown cutlet. You’ll never look at tonkatsu the same way ever again.
Saboten: 313 Orchard Rd, #B2-02/03 313@somerset, 313@Somerset, 238895 | Opening Hours: 11.30am – 9pm | Tel: 6898 3432 | Website
Pork Katsu Don ($14.00)
Yes, like most of the tonkatsus on this list, you could say that Katsuya’s tonkatsu is fried to perfection, moist, tender… but really, what made it the best tonkatsus of them all is how warm, savoury, and comforting their tonkatsus are at Katsuya.
So comforting that it reminds of of those tonkatsus you can find in Japan’s authentic family-run small restaurants. With just the perfect amount of fats, you can never go wrong with tonkatsu at Katsuya.
The Buta Kakuni ($6) is also highly recommended. I mean, who ever says no to pork belly? It’s heavenly.
Katsuya: 85 E Coast Rd, Singapore 428787 | Opening Hours: Tues – Sun 6pm – 10pm & 12pm – 3pm | Tel: 63448183 | Website