My husband Jay could eat tonkatsu all day, every day if he could. When we're in Japan, a tonkatsu meal (or two or even three) is a requirement.
Since it was our first time in Fukuoka, we wanted to try a local brand. Googling "best tonkatsu
in Fukuoka" led us to Hamakatsu which originally hails from Nagasaki thus making it local to
Hamakatsu's closest branch to the hotel was at the basement of the MUFG Bank in Tenjin.
While the building itself is along the wide avenue of Watanabe dori, the entrance to the basement is along the side street.
This is how the store front looks like. Nothing fancy, it must be well suited to the lunch crowd of employees in the area.
The lights are bright and the interiors are very "workmanlike" -- no fuss, no frills. Tables and
chairs are set up close together. A long counter divides the dining area, perfect for solo diners.
The menu features a number of set meals and some side dishes like soup, curry, prawns, croquettes.
There is a luscious looking stewed pork set meal that looks particularly inviting.
But we're here for the tonkatsu and nothing else. The waitress brought us the english menu which
had the basic items listed. For both hire and rosu set meals, you can choose from a 100 or 150 gram cutlet with a choice of white or red rice. For the uninitiated, there's even a how-to on the proper
way of enjoying tonkatsu.
Jay always orders hire or fillet which is pork tenderloin bereft of any fat. The tray comes with the requisite cabbage, assorted tsukemono, miso soup and a bowl of hot rice. As in most tonkatsu places, the rice, soup and cabbage are refillable.
Tonkatsu goes best with a good sized glass of cold nama beer. Hamakatsu's serves Ebisu on tap.
Where Jay has to have hire or fillet, I always order rosu or pork loin, which has a thin layer
of fat. Hamakatsu's rosu was encased in crunchy crisp panko, moist with that unmistakeable
taste of fat melting around tender pork meat. Every bite made me think I had died and flown
off to heaven on the wings of a pig.
Nothing left of Jay's tonkatsu. That's the smile of pure pork pleasure. Hamakatsu certainly lived
up to its google billing. And yes, the next day, we would have tonkatsu again, for our last lunch