I am not one to like pork. I have been consuming too much pork my whole life because I used to be cautious of what I eat due to so many allergies. Now that I have freedom on what I want to eat (I do live on anti-histamines though), I try to stay away from pork (and beef except steaks) as much as I can. But I read so many great things about this katsu place which apparently serves the best there is in the country.
Katsu actually means cutlet thus it is varied and comes in different types of meat such as pork and chicken. And today, it is one of the most common dishes in Japanese cuisine. If you would consider making a stopover in Japan a visit, then I have done so too many times. The sad thing is, I have never bothered trying out any food in their airports, so I really would not know if what we have here at Yabu is at par at how they prepare their katsu in Japan. But let me tell you this, Yabu made me crave for pork.
There was quite a line when I went it was a bit daunting. It took us around 20 minutes to be seated which I thought was fairly okay since I was expecting to wait far longer than that considering it was a Saturday night. We were ushered to a booth by the wall that displays what seemed to me were Manga. The busy establishment has a semi-open kitchen full of busy chefs getting several orders ready.
We ordered the tonkatsu sets which came with unlimited serving of rice and cabbage (with sesame dressing), miso soup, Japanese pickles and a bowl of fruit. After a few minutes, we were served with a small bowl of sesame seeds, slightly clueless as to what to do with it so I asked the server. The sesame seeds were to be grinded by a pestle after which, I poured in the thick black sauce to mix them all together.
We chose the Rosu (Pork Loin) Set in 180g (Php 405) which is described to be a 3/4 inch thick of pork cutlet with fat. The set also comes in 90g (Php 315) and 120g (Php 355) of pork meat. The breading was golden brown and crunchy (said to be caused by the 100% canola oil used in frying) but did not feel oily. The Rosu has a slightly less compact meat but it was very juicy. I almost forgot to dip it in the tonkatsu sauce.
Another tonkatsu set we ordered was the Hire (Pork Tenderloin) Set in 150g (Php 405). With the same thickness as the Rosu, Hire has no fat. It also comes in 100g size (Php 330). The same light and flaky breading was used. The meat for Hire was compact and was so tender. I prefer this than the Rosu since I do not like eating fat.
Aside from not liking pork too much, I am not a rice person either. But, the rice served at Yabu was very soft so I am assuming that Japanese rice was served together with the meat. It was too bad that I cannot consume so much rice because it went perfectly well with the tonkatsu. Instead of rice, I ate too much cabbage with sesame dressing. The cabbage was light as the dressing was slightly sweet with that strong flavour of sesame seeds. For variety, I also used the other dressing which seemed to be lighter and less fattening option. It was tangy but delicious just the same.
I wish we did not skip appetizers because they looked so delicious (Wakame [seaweed salad with ebiko], edamame, hiyayakko tofu [tofu cubes in ponzu sauce with bonito flakes] and potato & egg salad – choose 2 for Php 195) but wakame was not available that night.
I doubt if I can finish even the 90g worth of meat with all the unlimited rice and cabbages on the side. We split 2 orders for 3 people (paid for the extra rice of the 3rd person – Php 99). Aside from pork, Yabu also serves chicken and fish as well as katsudon. Service was fast and proactive as a lot of them would ask us if we wanted to refill our rice, cabbage or hot tea.
Now, who wants to go back with me? Holler okay?