Tonkatsu Wako

There is so much yummy food in japan that it’s hard to pick a favourite. Yakitori, aka “things on sticks” is one fave, especially at little izakaya joints where there’s loads of character.

But there are many ‘chain’ eateries that are well worth your munching dollar, and one that I always eat in several times during my stays is Tonkatsu Wako. I know, funny name, but it’s famous for delicious pork cutlets in super crisp breadcrumbs – never greasy, and always juicy and moist on the inside.

My fave is the one in Shinjuku in the subnade right near Kabukicho – it is underground, and so out of the elements. If it’s cold and rainy outside, it’s nice and warm here. If it’s sweltering outside, it’s lovely and cool. There are, however, many stores dotted throughout the country, so if you pass one, you know the quality will be the same.

OK, so many don’t have an English menu, but there are mouth-wateringly detailed photographs of what you get in the various meal deals in the menu, so you can just point. There are also, of course, replicas in the window of all the combinations, so again, you can just point and choose. Specials of the day are posted on large boards outside.

I quite liked mixed sets, so order the one above for 1,100 yen – with delicious clam soup, pickled veg and a savoury egg custard with mushrooms as sides, and the fabulous crispy crumbed prawn, pork cutlet and croquettes served up on a bed of crunchy grated cabbage. You can ring the bell to have your soup or cabbage topped up, if you wish.

If you don’t have time for a sit down meal, they also have Tonkatsu bento – you can pick what you want to take away in a lovely lunchbox. This is what I have on my last day to munch on in my hotel room while I do my last minute packing, before getting the bus to the airport. I highly recommend this place!
Tonkatsu Wako – Subnade 3 Shinjuku and many other locations
Hours: 11am – 10pm daily