I love tonkatsu. It is one of my favourite food. We are lucky that there are a few places in Singapore that serve very good tonkatsu (I will go so far as to say that they are on par with the ones in Japan).
It is hard to define what makes a good tonkatsu. Is it the meat? Should it be kurobuta or mangalica? Which cut is the best? Is hire or fillet better? Should you eat it with the Japanese Worcestershire sauce? Or do you use soy sauce, or miso-based sauce? How about variations like tonkatsu with cheese and katsu curry?
Taste is subjective, and everyone has their favourites. The following few are, in my opinion, the best tonkatsu restaurants in Singapore.
Tonkatsu by Ma Maison at Mandarin Galley is very, very good. I dare say it is one of the best, if not the best tonkatsu in Singapore. The kurobuta rosu katsu ($31.80) is excellent, but it is the Hungarian mangalica rosu katsu ($31.80) that you must try.
Tables fill up quickly with the afte-work crowd from 6pm, so get in early or be prepared to wait at least an hour.
333A Orchard Road
#02-35/36 Mandarin Gallery
Tel: +65 6733 4541
Mon to Fri: 11am–3pm, 5pm–10pm
Sat, Sun & PH: 11am–10pm
Famed for its juicy tonkatsu, bite-sized fillet katsu, katsu Don and katsu sandwich, Ginza Bairin – Tokyo’s 83-year-old specialty tonkatsu restaurant – is another place you can go for a good meal.
I will be honest: I do not think that they have the best tonkatsu, but I like the fact that they have a wide variety of items on the menu, and most of them are reasonably-priced. Moreover, Ginza Bairin has good locations at Ion Orchard and JCube.
2 Orchard Turn #B4-39/40
ION Orchard Singapore
Tel: +65 6509 8101
Daily: 11am – 10.30pm
Many consider Saboten to be one of the best tonkatsu restaurants in town, but I cannot really agree with that. Don’t get me wrong, though. Saboten has definitely one of the better tonkatsu, but it is not my favourite. Having said that, I can see myself coming back as the food is generally good, and reasonably-priced.
Try the signature loin katsu ($23), katsudon ($20), and katsu Curry ($19.50).
80 Airport Boulevard
#031-004 Departure Check-in Hall Level 3
Changi Airport Terminal 1
Tel: +65 6214 9504
Daily: 8am – 10.30pm
Tonkichi has been serving consistently good tonkatsu to many customers over the years. I first had the tonkatsu from Tonkichi a few years back, and after trying it again recently, I’m thrilled to say that it is still as good as before. It is, without a doubt, one of the best tonkatsu restaurants in Singapore.
Most people would probably go for the signature Kurobuta Kata Rosu Set ($32.9), Rosu Katsu Set ($22.9) or Hire Katsu Set ($20.9).
350 Orchard Road
4F Shaw House
Tel: +65 6835 4648
The tonkatsu here is good; it is crispy, juicy, and tender. Definitely one of the better tonkatsu I’ve had, and let’s not forget that it is only $13.9.
Sometimes I do think it is a little silly to spend so much on deep-fried pork cutlet, and when that happens, I usually find myself going back to Yayoiken at Liang Court.
177 River Valley Road
#B1-50 Liang Court Shopping Centre
Daily: 10am – 10pm
This is my to-go place when I am craving for tonkatsu. The top grade kurobuta tonkatsu ($31.80) is so damn good; I’d gladly go to hell for it. If you are on a budget, have the ‘normal pork’ hire tonkatsu ($21.30).
Among all the names on this list, Tonkatsu by Ma Maison and Tampopo Restaurant are my favourite tonkatsu places in Singapore.
177 River Valley Road
#01-23/24 Liang Court Shopping Centre
Tel: +65 6338 3186
Daily: 11.30am – 10.00pm
For more recommendations, please visit my list of Best Japanese Restaurants in Singapore