Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Food & Dining: Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood Restaurant




Desert and sand dunes?
Image from Locky's English Playground
Imagine yourself trapped in a desert, you are hot, hungry and thirsty, what comes to your mind?

Cup and teapot
Image from Locky's English Playground

A nice cup of tea? In an air-conditioned room?


Plate and wooden chopsticks
Image from Locky's English Playground

Or an empty plate that anticipates the arrival of your favourite food?

Image from Locky's English Playground
Think no more because first, you are probably not in a desert and second, that isn't even a photo of a desert -- it is a photo of the wall of a restaurant which I am about to recommend that is put horizontal and third, you already know which restaurant I am going to talk about, and that is the best deep-fried pork chop in the entire Hong Kong, much better than that of Curry House CoCo Ichibanya, the top of my list of favourite food!
Tonkichi @ The One, Tsim Sha Tsui
Image from carjaswong
Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood!!!!!

I must say this is a kind of open secret for anyone who loves Tonkatsu (豚カツ, とんかつ or トンカツ), a Japanese term for pork cutlet with a history tracing back to the 19th century. In fact, there is a wide range of choices of cutlets offered by the restaurants, such as chicken, king prawn, large scallops, oysters, crab meat and Wagyū (Japanese beef), but after trying every single one of them, my favourite remains as the pork fillet cutlet.
Mixed set with king prawns, oysters, pork fillets, pork chop and large scallops
Image from djibnet
After you have placed your order, the first thing you will get for ordering pork cutlet set is a mortar of sesame and a pestle. You can use this time to test out how good your grinding skill is or have a little competition with your friends to see how fine your sesame powder can get, not a bad good during the wait.

Sesame as sauce companion and a game for the diners
Image from Locky's English Playground
When the powder is ground, you can add the Japanese pork cutlet sauce, mix the sesame powder up and smell the aroma. I guarantee your stomach will start to rumble.

Chicken Chop set
Image from Locky's English Playground
Usually the wait is around 5 to 10 mins, which may be a bit long for some, but the quality is definitely worth your wait.

Close up of a pork fillet set
Image from Locky's English Playground
The thick pork fillet is fulling cooked but unlike any other deep-fried pork chop or fillet, this one is thick but tender with juice and freshness in every bite, which goes to say that the pork is of very high quality.

The panko (パン粉) breadcrumbs are golden brown, meaning that the oil has been kept at a very steady temperature throughout the cooking process, presumably at a low temperature, for the meat to be cooked without getting the breadcrumbs burnt. However, that's not all of the secret.

I remember that I once watched a show introducing the tonkatsu made by this restaurant, and the chef took out a wooden hammer-looking meat tenderizer with real sowing needles at its ends and hammered it down to the pork piece before taking it for a panko dip.

Meat tenderizer with needles
Image from alibaba
Unlike most Western meat tenderizer or hammers, this one doesn't flatten the meat, leaving it firm-looking like the original even after deep-frying. I have since wanted to get one but have since failed to succeed, but that is out of topic as far as eating out is concerned.

I have tried several branches of Tonkichi, namely World Trade More @ Causeway Bay (mostly), Hang Lung @ Causeway Bay (yesterday) and The One @ Tsim Sha Tsui (more than 4 times), each has its own selling point.

The World Trade More branch used to have an amazing seaview but thanks to the reclamation of the beautiful Victoria Harbour, what you get to see now are cranes and dredgers; however, the skill of cooking is the best here and you'll get that golden yellow crumbs instead of golden brown. It is also the first shop in Hong Kong and has been an award-winning shop ever since. Looking for walk-in with zero waiting time? This is the one to go after its expansion.

I tried the one in Hang Lung yesterday and took these photos, the food looked browner but the taste remains great. There is no seaview or any views but the cups, teapots, plates and the overall atmosphere is better. I like the quietness and spaciousness the most. Reservation is recommended but walk-in is fine based on yesterday/ Sunday's 7:30pm visit.

Finally, the one at The One has an excellent view of Park Lane facing directly at the Kowloon Mosque and Islamic Centre, so you will always get to see a huge flock of flying pigeons as you dine, both day and night the view is simply stunning. The seats are tighter and less comfortable, but you can ask for window-seats if you make reservation, which is highly recommended.

Pork fillet set, HK$178
Image from Locky's English Playground
My research took me to a branch in Tampines Mall, Singapore. Whether that is the only one I really have no idea, but my Singapore friends will definitely like it, if they still haven't tried it.

Tonkichi @ Tampines Mall, Singapore
Overall, the cutlets served in all branches of this restaurant really deserve a full mark in look, taste, smell, textures and temperature! Simply unbeatable!


Scores:

Look:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Taste:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Smell:            ★★★★★ 5/5
Textures:       ★★★★★ 5/5
Temperature: ★★★★★ 5/5
Overall:         ★★★★★ 25/25




Vocabulary:
mortar -- (n)[C] The mortar is a bowl, typically made of hard wood, ceramic or stone.
pestle -- (n)[C] The pestle is a heavy club-shaped object, the end of which is used for crushing and grinding
rumble -- (vb) [I] to make a continuous low sound:
meat tenderizer -- (n)[C] is hand-powered tool used to tenderize slabs of meat in preparation for cooking the meat
flatten -- (vb) [I or T] to become level and thinner or to cause something to become level and thinner:
crane -- (n)[C] a type of machine, generally equipped with a hoist, wire ropes or chains, and sheaves, that can be used both to lift and lower materials and to move them horizontally
A crane
Image from Wikipedia

dredger -- (n)[C] an excavation activity or operation usually carried out at least partly underwater, in shallow seas or fresh water areas with the purpose of gathering up bottom sediments and disposing of them at a different location.
A grab dredge
Image from Wikipedia

spaciousness -- (n)[U] approving  large and with a lot of space:
unbeatable -- (adj) approving unable to be defeated or improved because of excellent quality:


Resources:
Food: The Search For Great Curry -- Part 3 @ Locky's English Playground
http://lockyep.blogspot.hk/2013/04/food-search-for-great-curry-part-3.html

Tonkatsu @ Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tonkatsu

Breaded Cutlet @ Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breaded_cutlet#Tonkatsu

Panko @ Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panko#Panko

Meat tenderizer @ Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meat_tenderizer

Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood @ Openrice
http://www.openrice.com/english/restaurant/sr2.htm?&shopid=5182

Tonkichi Tonkatsu Seafood @ Openrice
http://www.openrice.com/english/restaurant/sr2.htm?shopid=48671

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mortar_and_pestle
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/rumble_1?q=rumble+
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/flatten_2
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crane_(machine)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dredger
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/spacious?q=spaciousness+
http://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/british/unbeatable?q=unbeatable


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