Japanese food is not all fish and saké.
The food in Japan is diverse, vibrant, and almost always as fantastic to the eye as it is to the palate. When traveling in Japan, I try to eat at different places every day, to experience as much as possible. Although I often want to repeat a meal, I rarely do, because I want to sample as much as possible on every trip.
However, on occasion I can’t resist a repeat meal … and Tonkatsu KYK (とんかつKYK京都ポルタ店) in the Porta underground dining area immediately adjacent to Kyoto Station was responsible not just one, but two of the best meals I’ve ever eaten in Japan.
Katsu is the Japanese word for a fried meat cutlet, generally breaded. Tonkatsu is pork, and Torikatsu is chicken. The meal below is the “special black pork tenderloin katsu dinner” at Tonkatsu KYK:
From top center, clockwise: Pork tenderloin tonkatsu, shredded cabbage salad, rice, pork soup, and tray with tonkatsu sauce.
This particular restaurant offers tonkatsu made with different cuts of pork, and also allows guests to choose from three different sizes of pork cutlets. I chose the “special black pork” – a higher grade of meat, from heirloom pigs – and the medium-sized cutlet:
The soup is a pork broth (so rich that it almost tastes like gravy rather than soup) with potatoes, root vegetables, carrots, and onions, as well as generous chunks of pork:
Most of the meals at Tonkatsu KSK come with miso soup; only the black pork specials come with pork soup – so if you prefer a heartier soup, definitely opt for the black pork tonkatsu also.
The meal was so delicious that I opted to return the following night — and ordered exactly the same meal the second time.
I regret nothing.
In fact, when I return to Kyoto, I’m already planning to visit the restaurant again – and if you find yourself in Kyoto Eki at meal time, I recommend that you visit too.
Tonkatsu KSK is located in the underground Porta dining area adjacent to Kyoto Eki (Kyoto Station) – and the complete black pork tenderloin dinner will set you back about $20.