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Don’t ever let anyone tell you that people in Japan don’t like fried food. Well, you can let them say it, but don’t believe them. As skilled as the country is with lighter fare such as sushi and nabe hot pot, Japanese cuisine can totally nail fried food, as proven by tonkatsu, or deep-fried pork cutlet.

One of the tastiest ways to eat tonkatsu is served over rice and topped with a fried egg, a dish called katsudon. Conversely, you can also slap two pieces of bread around it and make a katsu sandwich, which allows you to enjoy your cutlet on the go, or theoretically hold one in each hand and eat two at a time.

Sadly, eating your tonkatsu in sandwich form used to mean giving up all that delicious, gooey egg. That’s all changed now, though, thanks to the awesome tamatoro sandwiches now on sale in Tokyo that let you have the best of both worlds.

Although tonkatsu was originally inspired by European visitors to Japan, it’s been a part of the local cultural landscape long enough for a few famous tonkatsu restaurants to make names for themselves. One of the most loved is Maisen, with its original branch in Tokyo’s Aoyama and takeaway counters in department stores and train stations.

Not too long ago, Maisen debuted the tamatoro pocket sandwich, combining the tama from tamago (“egg”) with the toro of torori (“thick and melty”).

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We slipped ours out of the package, and it was about the same size as the steamed buns sold at Japanese convenience stores. In contrast to its compact size, it had plenty of heft, hinting at a generous portion of fillings.

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While its round shape is certainly stylish, at first glance this might seem like a low-grade snack for kids who can’t stand the thought of crust on their sandwich. And while Japan does indeed have a bit of an aversion to crust, the real reason Maisen created a pressed sandwich became clear once we sliced ours open.

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Inside, along with an enticingly thick cut of pork, was a mouth-watering fried egg that the bread had kept from dripping out. The tempting sight put a silly grin on our face, which lasted only until we opened our mouth to chomp into it.

The egg and sauce soak into the breading, giving it a soft texture and rich flavor. The meat itself is tender but by no means soggy, with just enough pleasant firmness as it meets your teeth. There’s also a layer of crisp sauerkraut, and the whole thing is tied together by the kick provided by seeded mustard.

The overall effect is so delicious that it almost seems like Maisen is breaking some sort of maximum capacity rule by putting so much good-tasting food into one self-contained package.

Our specific tamatoro sandwich cost us 480 yen (US $4) and was made with hirekatsu, an especially tender cut of pork. Maisen also makes a mincemeat cutlet version for 410 yen ($3.44), as well as the top-of-the-line 496-yen ($4.16) shrimp cutlet tamatoro sandwich. Given Maisen’s reputation for culinary excellence, we’re guessing the ones we haven’t tried are equally delicious, meaning the only problem is how to eat three sandwiches with just two hands.

▼ We have top men working on the problem right now, though.

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Related: Maisen location finder
Photos: RocketNews24
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