After researching more about Anzu (あんず) online, I found out from blogs like Water Serpents and Pace J Miller that Anzu actually originated in Kyushu–the island that I was in for my study abroad! Also, there are different kinds of pork used to make the tonkatsu pork cutlets. Apparently, the best tonkatsu is made from pork called Kagoshima Kurobuta (かごしま黒豚), which literally translates into Kagoshima black pig. You may know this breed of pig as Berkshire pigs. Check out the wiki page for more information!
In any case, I don’t quite have the money for the delicious kurobuta but my host family did treat me to an amazing meal of a regular Tonkatsu Set:
The set included a miso soup in the top left corner, a bowl of white and black rice, a small dish of sesame (which you crush with their mortar and pestle to miss with their tonkatsu sauce), and a plate of the roast tonkatsu. But that’s not all! My host family and I took advantage of the salad bar and drink bar, and got unlimited salad and drinks (alcoholic and not, but that’s a story for another time…). And as you can see, I got a little bit too excited and took a bite before I remembered to take a picture of this meal 🙂
What was amazing about this tonkatsu was how tender and decadent the meat was. Yes, I just used the word “decadent,” but it needs to be used here–that’s how amazing it was. Usually when I eat tonkatsu in the states, the meat can be quite dry and potentially tough, and the bread crumbs don’t really satisfy. But in Japan, the meat… you can taste the freshness and tenderness, and let me tell you, despite the oil used to deep fry the pork cutlets, those bread crumbs did not disappoint. Whereas in the American Japanese restaurants, the tonkatsu is usually covered with a curry or tonkatsu sauce, I literally could eat this tonkatsu as is, or with just a simple sprinkling of salt.
If I had to choose, this would be one of my most favorite foods and meals in Japan. I loved it so much that my host family took me there again and again. Did I ever mention how much I love my host family 🙂 In any case, if you had to go anywhere for tonkatsu, I think you guys know where to go.