Both may be fried, but fans have strong opinions.

At SoraNews24, we love quizzing each other on things like blind taste tests of expensive fruit, but what about more heated discussions? One fine day in the office, we asked ourselves which is better: karaage (fried chicken) or tonkatsu (fried pork cutlet)? It may seem like a simple question, but our reporters came up with some surprisingly deep and well-thought-out answers.

You see, when our Japanese-language reporter Go Hatori was at lunch with coworkers one day, he was struck by how delicious the karaage he ordered was. It got him thinking: who would be as happy as he was eating karaage? Were there more karaage fans than tonkatsu die-hards? He posed the question to the whole team in our Japanese office.

Spoiler: there were a lot of opinions on the karaage versus tonkatsu contest. Since they’re completely different food groups, there were members who said they liked both, and some even said they wouldn’t care if they could never eat either option again. Here are some of the highlights of the survey, as well as the final results.

P.K. Sanjun: Team Karaage

“I’m on the fence, but I’ll vote for karaage. It’s pretty affordable and I come across it often. Though tonkatsu can be pretty tasty…I think karaage is the best way to eat chicken. There are more delicious ways to eat pork than in tonkatsu form, but since chicken tastes best as karaage, I’ll vote for that.”

Go Hatori: Team Tonkatsu

Despite his earlier encounter with karaage, Go went with tonkatsu in the end. “I mostly cook at home, but I don’t make fried food very often,” he explained. “So when I’m in the mood for something fried, I think tonkatsu is a bit more special than karaage. I’m also a bit of an expert when it comes to tonkatsu restaurants. Karaage is something you can find easily at anytime, and it’s easier to make at home than tonkatsu. So my vote goes to tonkatsu.”

Masanuki Sunakoma: Team Karaage

“This is difficult because I like both. If I heard a world-class chef had used high-quality ingredients to make both, I’d choose tonkatsu; but if you told me I had a choice between never having karaage again or never having tonkatsu again, I’d choose karaage. Tonkatsu is a treat, but I’m always in the mood for karaage. So I pick Team Karaage! It’s always a good pairing with beer too.”

Yoshio: Team Karaage

When given the choice between karaage and tonkatsu, Yoshio chooses karaage. “Karaage is easier to make at home, and it tastes just as good the next day as it does fresh. Many people also use it in bento, so I think it’s popular everywhere. I think mothers and children would cry if there was no more karaage for bento.”

Ahiruneko: Team Tonkatsu

“To be honest, I had planned on choosing karaage,” Ahiruneko admitted. “There hasn’t been a time I wasn’t happy to have karaage. But when I thought about which I’d prefer to be treated to, I think I’d prefer a fancy cut of tonkatsu. I want someone to buy tonkatsu for me. I love tonkatsu!!!

Yuichiro Wasai: Team Karaage

“I’m voting for karaage, but for the record, I think tonkatsu pairs better with rice. But the thing is, you need good rice for tonkatsu to taste good. If your rice is too hard or too soft, your tonkatsu will only taste half as good as it should.

Karaage can be delicious even on its own. No one complains if someone orders karaage on a night out. Your mood instantly improves if you see karaage on sale at the supermarket. Tonkatsu can’t hold a candle to it.”

Mr. Sato: Team Karaage

“Just for the record, I’m not sure why this survey is happening. I wasn’t in the office when this started, and I honestly don’t see the point. I don’t even think they should be pitted against one another. It’s obvious karaage will win; it will just make tonkatsu lovers feel bad. Like, karaage is like a smartphone and tonkatsu is like a public telephone. That’s how I feel about them.”

Mariko Ohanabatake: Team Karaage

“Karaage, duh. I don’t like tonkatsu, for starters. It’s too greasy. Tonkatsu will mess up your stomach. I only eat it once or twice a year when my stomach is in really good condition. When someone asks me out to tonkatsu, I start prepping myself a week in advance. Karaage, on the other hand, is something I’ve loved since I was a kid.”

Seiji Nakazawa: Team Tonkatsu

“Become one that can eat tonkatsu anytime and anywhere, young grasshopper,” Seiji told us, “and you will become neither too rich nor too poor. That’s what a tonkatsu restaurant owner told me once, anyway. That owner would probably wonder why you’re daring to group tonkatsu and karaage together in the first place.

It’s true I eat karaage almost every day, but it’s not like I need it. I actively choose to eat tonkatsu, but karaage is just something I sort of grab when it’s there.”

So out of the 9 staff we asked, the results were…

Team Karaage: 6
Team Tonkatsu: 2

…with Team Karaage being the clear winner! But what about you? Which would make you sadder if you could never eat it again: karaage or tonkatsu? And what should we vote on next? Let us know!

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