Katsu-sando: Taste and Substance

The Japanese cutlet sandwich makes a simple but juicy snack, always flavourful and satisfying, even after a few hours

  • Katsu-sando: Taste and Substance
  • Katsu-sando: Taste and Substance
  • Katsu-sando: Taste and Substance
  • Katsu-sando: Taste and Substance
  • Katsu-sando: Taste and Substance

Katsu-sando is the undisputed king of Japanese sandwiches, in all its variations: from medium-cooked beef to succulent pork, with soft bread or crispy slices of toast. You may have it at the shop or take it out and eat it at a park, in the office, or even at home.
Regarded as a classic, the cutlet sandwich was created in 1935 in a tonkatsu shop in Ueno named Isen and frequented by geisha. It was in fact expressly devised for the geisha who needed something small to eat without smearing their lipstick. The katsu-sando was the perfect response to their need and the popularity of those tiny chunks of pork cutlet enclosed in soft bread spread to the rest of the city and of the country in no time at all.
In Kantō, the region of Tokyo, katsu-sando consists mostly in pork cutlet sandwiches, whereas in Kansai, the region of Osaka, it is mainly beef. And of course, in Tokyo you can find both types of meat in a wide array of flavours.
Shinsekai Grill Bon (Ginza)
With its headquarters in a long-established shop in Osaka, Ginza’s Shinsekai Grill Bon is a sandwich outlet specialised in gyūhere katsu-sando – beef filet. Either you have it at the counter or takeaway, you will love the irresistible fragrance of the toasted bread combining with the juiciness of the medium-rare beef filet and a slight mustard finish.
Tokyo Kenkyō (Shibuya)
Located in Shinsen, between Shibuya and Daikan’yama, this café offers sandwich menus with a soft drink and a salad. The most popular one is undoubtedly the made-to-order extra-thick pork filet sandwich menu. The meat is thick, tender and juicy, with a sweet and sour sauce to provide the perfect balance. The bread comes from a renowned bakery in the city. All the sodas are prepared with freshly-pressed yuzu citron and apples.
Central Bakery (Ginza)
A subsidiary of Shibuya’s baguette shop Viron, Central Bakery sells the most sought-after sandwiches, made with carefully selected ingredients, from the slightly toasted bread to the deep-fried pork cutlet, with very little extra condiment. It is a winning combination for which people are ready to stand in a one-hour queue.
Udagawa (Mitsukoshi-mae, Chūō)
Decorated like an elegant gourmet restaurant, Udagawa is an institution for its katsu-sando. If you take a seat at the counter, you will be able to hear the distinctive sound of pork cutlets frying, and to smell their mouthwatering fragrance. The meat comes in chunks so thick that the bread looks thin by comparison. The perfect balance between the juiciness of the meat, the crispy texture of the cabbage, and the slightly sweet tang of the sauce can be enjoyed even when cold.
Izakaya Mamezo (Torigoe, Taitō)
Featured in the television series based on the eponymous manga Kodoku no Gourmet (“The Solitary Gourmet”), Mamezo is an izakaya, a Japanese pub, located in an alley next to Torigoe. The quality of the food is so high, you will not believe it is an izakaya. The fish comes from Tsukiji Market, directly shipped from Uozu Port in the Toyama Prefecture. The house katsu-sando consists in a thick chunk of pork sirloin cutlet, served in two slices of bread toasted on the inner side and garnished with the Mamezo special sauce. Due to the popularity of Kodoku no Gourmet and the subsequent popularity of the shop itself, reservation is highly recommended.

Author : The Slowear Journal


Japan   | Tokyo  | Katsu-sando  | sandwich  | snack  | pork  | beef  |

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