Since the Olympics are in Tokyo I have been thinking of tonkatsu which is one of my favorite Japanese meals.
Here is a very traditional tonkatsu meal at a restaurant in Tokyo. It is a very common lunch choice in the many small restaurants in work areas. Tonkatsu is usually served with shredded cabbage and miso soup (bottom right under cover). Many small restaurants have their own secret recipe for the sauce that is served with the tonkatsu.
Tonkatsu means pork cutlet and of course you can see the cutlet which is cut into strips.
Tonkatsu is a classic example of yoshoku or foreign food that has been brought into Japanese cuisine. Of course, they incorporate their own style into dishes from other countries.
For my friends from the Midwest, think of a delicious Iowa tenderloin that is cut into strips. Of course, no bun or fries and definitely not ketchup. However, it is often served with a spicy mustard.
One of the variations of tonkatsu is katsudon which is the cutlet served on top of a bed of rice and topped with egg and vegetables. I also really like this dish.
Katsu curry is another great variation as the cutlet is served over rice and with a large helping of curry. At CoCo Curry House you can choose the heat level of the curry. I like it somewhere in the middle of the range. You can also order the katsu with different meats like torikatsu (chicken), hamukatsu or bifukatsu. You should be able to figure out the last two 🙂
Tonkatsu is also popular in Korea. I had this dish at a Korean restaurant near my office. Since Korea was once occupied by Japan some of the dishes they have are similar.
I have had tonkatsu in many countries at either Japanese or Korean restaurants. Let me make a list: Japan, Korea, China, Singapore, Australia, Canada and the USA. I may have left out a country or two 🙂
Now I am hungry for tonkatsu.