7 Regional Katsudon (Japanese Food); Taste and Compare!
Since the popularity of Japanese food in recent years, there’s been foods that have surpassed the previously past popularity of sushi and tempura. There’s ramen, onigiri (rice balls) and… what we’re talking about today, katsudon. Katsudon is an everyday dish that has developed independently in Japan. The word is a combination of the word katsu (breaded deep fried cutlets of meat) and donburi (bowl or bowl of rice). It satisfies the 3 hallmarks of good Japanese food: cheap, yummy and plentiful. So here’s a list of regional katsudon scattered throughout Japan. Photo: https://www.flickr.com
1. Tamagotoji Katsudon: Tokyo
The typical katsudon found throughout Japan. Tonkatsu (breaded deep fried pork cutlets) simmered and cooked with egg and is placed atop rice. The sauce is condensed with ‘umami’ flavor from dashi stock and then a little bit of sugar to make it sweet. Start by trying this standard katsudon.
2. Tare Katsudon: Niigata
3. Yofu Katsudon: Nagaoka, Niigata
The yofu (or western) style katsudon is a regional specialty of Niigata’s Nagaoka in particular. It’s served on a plate—not in a bowl—with a good helping of a ketchup-based sauce. Perhaps it’s a flavor you are familiar with.
4. Sauce Katsudon
Fukui; Komagane, Nagano; Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima
Komagane, Nagano, https://www.flickr.com
When you say “sauce katsudon,” people think of Fukui; Komagane, Nagano; and Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima. The bold flavor of the sauce and tonkatsu are a perfect match and you’ll run out of rice because of it. In Komagane and Aizuwakamatsu there’s shredded cabbage between the tonkatsu while in Fukui cabbage is not used.
5. Ankake Katsudon: Mizunami, Gifu
Surely you can tell by the picture what makes it different from regular katsudon right? The egg overtop it is thickened with starch to make it syrupy. True bliss.
6. Demi Katsudon: Okayama
Warm cabbage is spread across rice and then plenty of rich demi-glaze sauce that you can’t see the tonkatsu anymore. This famed Okayama dish has the perfect quantity.
7. Miso Katsudon: Nagoya, Aichi
I’m sure you know that Nagoya is famous for their miso sauce. If you’re in the Kansai area, this is one Japanese food you must eat.
Bonus: Japanese Culture & Katsudon
It’s unlikely that a Japanese person doesn’t recognize this scene. In TV drama series from the Showa period, the detective asks, “Do you want katsudon?” and a bowl is brought into the interrogation room. Because the criminal finds this so comforting and because the katsudon is so good, the criminal ends up confessing (perhaps something like the good cop/bad cop routine but the katsudon acts as the good cop). As you can see, katsudon is a dish with a lot of connection to Japanese culture and people since long ago.
While Japanese food tends to be imagined as a delicate type of cuisine, the donburi or rice bowl stands out as a powerful contrast. And katsudon reigns as king of dishes served donburi style. Which one of the 7 here struck your fancy?