Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Saboten Tonkatsu - Premium Pork Cutlet


Saboten Tonkatsu (勝博殿)

Mitsukoshi XinYi, A9. 6th Floor
No.9, Song Shou Road, Taipei

Food: 4
Service: 3
Price: Fair

Tonkatsu can be easily found in any Japanese restaurant, but a restaurant just dedicated to this one item is hard to come by. At least I don't know a single restaurant in Greater Vancouver that focus on this. However this is completely opposite in Taiwan, cause there seems to be one on every street. There is also quite a range of these restaurants, some are fast food places, while other are higher end with nice ambiance and good service. Saboten Tonkatsu just so happen to be one of those.

There are several good quality Tonkatsu places around Taipei, we just chose Saboten because they had one location that was very convenient for us. This branch was located on the 6th floor of Mitsukoshi shopping center in XinYi district. The first thing that came are the unlimited 'side dishes'. The first are very finely chopped cabbage, and you are suppose to drizzle the ponzu-like vinaigrette dressing on top. The light acidity from the ponzu sauce really open up ones appetite, and since you are just munching on light veggie, it keep the stomach relatively empty to enjoy the tonkatsu that was yet to come. They also give us some picked daikon and black beans which I didn't particularly enjoy.
Next they bought out the DIY sauce 'kit', a grinder with a bowl of black/white sesame. Basically, you are to grind up the sesame to any consistency you prefer, and the pour on this tonkatsu sauce to make a runny paste. The tonkatsu sauce was slightly sweet and tangy at the same time, it's hard to describe, but all you have to know that it's GOOD.
R ordered the regular tonkatsu meal for around $300NT ($10). I know I know, how is that high end you ask. Well, let's just say you can have the same meal for only $5-6 at regular tonkatsu shop. Anyways, the pork here was super tender and juicy. The Penko crust was nice and crispy without being oily. Also, all the meal here come with miso soup and unlimited rice.
I went for something different, I had the stuffed tonkatsu (3 ways) for around $350NT($12). I have to say the extra $2 was so WORTH IT. I loved all three kinds, with my favorite being the ginger flavored stuff pork in the back. All the pork used here are chewy, but the good kind of chewy. Just like the above dish, the outside crust was really crispy, this provided a nice contrast to the soft and delicious pork on the inside.
Although the set meal was more than enough, but I just couldn't resist and ordered the Chawamushi. This was once again very good, it was smooth and flavorful with a hint of seafood umami taste.
The set meal ended with 1 scoop of matcha ice cream. As much as I loved all the food, this was just mediocre, but I won't complain, since I didn't came here for dessert anyways. XD

Overall, I definitely recommend Saboten, as their tonkatsu were seriously great. I can honestly say I haven't found a place here that serves such tender pork cutlet. So make sure you mark this place down, if you do intend to visit Taiwan.


jer April 6, 2011 at 12:42 PM

I share the exact same thoughts about the lack of any true Tonkatsu restaurants in Vancouver. There's a niche for it and I hope someone does something about it and opens one.

Your meal looks great. I also had an experience with a pestle and mortar and fresh sesame seeds at a Tonkatsu outlet in Japan. It really does add a new element to the dish.

Jenny April 8, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Yeah, I totally agree and wish someone can open one ASAP, but I wonder what would be the price point here for they type of high end pork cutlet :P

Anonymous December 24, 2011 at 5:16 PM

Saboten is opening at Aberdeen Centre coming Jan '12.

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