August 17, 2016

The Only Entertainment
You Can See Here


Sushi and tempura, these two may be the world class Japanese food that come to your mind first. Ramen and curry are also getting popular and favoured by foreigners nowadays. Although, you are forgetting one more important Japanese dish, and that is Ton Katsu. If you don’t know what it is, Ton means “pork” and Katsu means “deep fried”, and as you can now imagine it is deep fried pork dish. In Japan it is thought to be auspicious as Katsu also means “winning” and is normally favoured on a day of a game, or any event where “winning” is important.
Whether or not they know about this hidden meaning, there is a restaurant in Meguro where the floor is filled full with many foreign tourists. We’ll dig into its secret this time.

Classic Restaurant With 77 Years Of Establishment
On the First Floor Counter

The restaurant is located just about one minute walk from Meguro station. Tonki is a classic ton katsu restaurant in Tokyo which every one comes up with its name when you ask for a good ton katsu place. It is easy to spot the shop with its iconic white flag on its entrance with big letterings saying “Ton Katsu”. The shop welcomes this year, its 77th year since its opening. They have relocated and refurbished some of its interior, so the shop now is full of cleanness to the point you may not be able to spot their long history. There is one big counter table on the first floor, and table seatings on the second. If you are visiting this place for the very first time, then please do fight to sit at the counter table on the first floor. One of the biggest joy of eating at this place is to look at the chefs amazing works inside the counter table. In fact, there are people wait for the counter table when the second floor normal seatings are available.
There are usually six chefs behind the counter and each of them are allocated to different jobs, where one checks its finished pork, cuts the fried pork, and there is also the one who garnishes the plates. This work flow is the key to all of your orders being so perfect.



Can’t Take Your Eyes Off

There are three different kinds of pork at Tonki ranging from pork loin, pork fillet, and pork skewers. Once the order is made, it is the chef who is in charge of making its batter that makes his first move. He puts some flour to the pork and then tap the pork lightly to drop excess flour. He then makes the pork swim inside the mixed egg for one time. Normally the next step will be to coat the egged pork with breadcrumb and then to oil. However what Tonki chefs do is different. They sprinkle the pork with flour again, and then egg them again. Oh, so they do the flour and egg twice! But that’s not it, they do the process one more time! Then finally after doing the process for three times they coat the pork with breadcrumb and lead them into a heated pot of 100% lard oil. This is about two to three minutes after ordering.
They deep fry the pork slowly with low temperatured lard oil, which is around 150~160 degrees. It is quite low temperature considering the fact they are frying pork. The second generation of the restaurant’s master, Mr Yoshihara aged 77, is standing right next to the pot and will check its finishing.
Just about twenty minutes of the very first order made, the master wipes his knife with a cloth softly. People watching him will stretches their backs as you can sense something will happen. Just fried pork is placed onto a cutting board, and is cut smoothly into pieces. Pork is now placed onto a plate, which comes with shredded cabbage and tomatoes and then is served to customers following with a bowl of rice, pickles, and miso soup.

This takes about tewnty minutes in total for the dishes to be served to customers. Maybe if the same waiting happens in other restaurants you may feel it is taking too much time, but at Tonki you won’t feel that way at all. It is too entertaining when looking at the chefs working on their parts, and will never bore you while waiting. In fact there are many who wants to record it with their phones.


「とんき」のかつは「ロースかつ」「ヒレかつ」「串かつ」の3種類。注文を受けると、まずは衣の担当の職人が動く。肉に小麦粉をたっぷりとかけると軽く叩いて余分な粉を落とし、卵液にくぐらせる。普通のとんかつならここでパン粉をつけて油へ。ところが「とんき」は違う。肉は再び小麦粉をまぶされ、もう一度卵液につかる。「あ、2度付けのタイプね」と思うのもつかの間、さらに小麦粉、卵へ! ここでようやくパン粉をまとい、100%ラードの鍋に投入される。ここまで注文から2~3分。

Crispy Texture and Juicy Meat

Last of all but not least to mention is of course, the pork. Bon apetit!
What is surprising is the texture of its batter. It is crispy and crunchy, and you can taste the egg that is being used in the batter. You now understand the reason for coating the pork with flour and eggs for three times. The batter itself is already too tastefull. When the loin is rolled in this batter it becomes juicy inside, and when fillet does it becomes moist inside. If you order their pork skewers they will come with sweet leek which makes a perfect match to pork fillet. This is different from other restaurants again since normal places use onions for skewers.
The most popular menu to foreigners apparently is pork fillet, as that’s what is on top of their English menu. Though pork loin is becoming more and more popular.
Another thing Tonki is so much more unique is that, not only their main actor the pork, but also its supporting actors such as cabbages, miso soup, and the pickles are playing big roles on the plate at well. Every characters are at its finest.

You may think “Tonki is an entertainment!” while you watch the chefs doing their magical work and waiting for your dish to come. Once you bite the fried pork, you then realize that you have come to taste this special bite. it is the specialty deep fried pork that you can only experience here.





Address: 1-1-2, Shimomeguro, Meguro-ku, Tokyo
Tatematsu Mansion 101
Tel: 03-3491-9928

Store Opening Hours
Mon~Fri 16:00 ~ 22:45 (Last Order)
CLOSING: Tuesdays, every third Mondays.



営業時間:16:00~22:45 LO

photographer / TOMOHIKO TAGAWA

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