Pork cutlet so nice you get to eat it twice.

Some of life’s questions are easy. For example, if you’re in Japan and asking yourself “Should I eat pork cutlet?”, the answer is yes. The stuff is delicious.

However, that easy question immediately prompts a difficult one: Should you eat tonkatsu, in which the pork cutlet is served by itself, or should you eat katsudon, where the pork cutlet comes atop a bowl of rice and is usually covered in egg? It’s a tough call. Tonkatsu is arguably the more refined choice, with its focus on the flavors of the meat and breading, but katsudon, which adds the richness of the egg and usually a sweet sauce, is the more decadent treat.

So imagine our overflowing  joy when we found a restaurant chain that’s saving us from having to make that near-impossible choice by serving a tonkatsu set meal that comes with a katsudon as the included side dish.

We came across this edible wonder at Yoshibei, a chain that started in Kobe in 1979 and now has branches in Osaka too. As we walked into their restaurant in downtown Osaka’s Higashi Umeda district, we already knew what we were going to order: the Manpuku Teishoku, or “Full-Stomach Set Meal.”

At 1,380 yen (US$10), it’s a little on the pricey side for a casual restaurant like Yoshibei. But it still represents a good value since you get not only a tonkatsu with its traditional accompaniment of shredded cabbage, but also a katsudon.

▼ Truly a thing of beauty

Now, our hearts would say there’s never such a thing as too much pork cutlet. Our stomachs might disagree, though, and we admit we had a moment of worry about whether this Full-Stomach Set Meal might end up feeling like a Burst-Stomach Set Meal if we ate the whole thing.

Those concerns melted away as we took our first bite of tonkatsu, however, and not just because of how delicious it was. Yoshibei goes easy on the breading, using enough bread crumbs for a nice crisp texture and flavorful accent, but not so much that it feels like you’re chewing through a starch barrier to get to the pork inside. The meat, too, is less fatty than what many other tonkatsu serve, so it’s tasty without making you feel unnecessarily bloated.

Switching over to the katsudon, the breading is similarly light and the pork lean, and the sauce also keeps its sweet notes from being overpowered. So though the idea of pairing tonkatsu with katsudon might seem crazy, Yoshibei’s version of the two makes them a sensible way to indulge in such gleeful gastronomic insanity.

As if all that wasn’t enough, the Manpuku Teishoku also comes with a dish of cold soba noodles, should you desire a momentary break from pork cutlet.

And if you’re somehow saying “Yeah, but after eating the tonkatsu, katsudon, and the soba, I’m still not sure if I’ll really be full,” you can take heart in knowing that the set also comes with a card/coupon that you can use for a free refill of rice, your choice of small, regular, large, or extra-large size.

The Manpuku Teishoku is only being offered at Yoshibei’s Higashi Umeda and Kita Shinchi branches in Osaka and in Hyogo Prefecture at its Sanda, Amagasaki City Hall, and Imazumimnato-cho (Nishinomiya City) locations. It’ll be available until August 31, so the feeling of fullness should last you into early September.

Restaurant information
Yoshibei (Higashi Umeda branch) / 吉兵衛(東梅田店)
Address: Osaka-shi, Kita-ku, Doyamacho 18-2
Open 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Related: Yoshibei location list
Photos ©SoraNews24
● Want to hear about SoraNews24’s latest articles as soon as they’re published? Follow us on Facebook and Twitter!
[ Read in Japanese ]