Miso Katsu

Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture has got a lot of signature dishes, known as Nagoya meshi (Meshi means food or cuisine.), loved by not only tourists around the globe but also locals. Yet one of the best ones would be “Miso Katsu” – which is a deep-fried pork cutlet topped with miso-based rich and sweet sauce. The deep-fried cutlet is basically what you would know as “Tonkatsu”. But when you mention tonkatsu in Nagoya, many people would imagine miso katsu instead.

Miso is made of soybeans, and the one used for miso katsu is a red type (or dark coloured type) of miso called “Hatchō Miso”. This red miso is such a popular speciality that you would come across it everywhere.

Hatchō Miso

How miso is made is as follows. After being made as paste it is fermented and aged for several seasons or even for three years in a wood cask where stones are placed on the top like a pyramid. The more it is fermented, the more the taste will become rich in flavour – and loaded with umami. (Actually, that way of making miso has such a long history which is quite interesting to know!) In making the special sauce for miso katsu, it is boiled with dried bonito stock, sugar, etc. for hours. Although the sauce looks like it has strong flavour as it appears rich from its colour, the taste is much lighter than it looks.

As for the restaurants to try it, we cannot talk about it without introducing “Yabaton” that would be the most popular one. I believe it is safe to say that if you want to know what miso katsu is and how the taste is like, you should first go to this restaurant since it has many branches throughout Nagoya (Even in the airport!) and also a variety of miso katsu menu.

It is said to a powerful driving force that made miso katsu widely known outside Nagoya region. You will see a very long queue of people who wait for going in and having seats during peak hours. You might not be able to make up your mind which one to order because of serving the variety of dishes – then I would recommend you to try “Waraji Tonkatsu”, a jumbo-sized pork loin cutlet with shredded cabbage and a bowl of rice.

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