I Think I'm Turning Japanese
As promised, I am going to sing the praises of don katsu, whilst also lambasting it for being what I believe to be the devil's best idea in food form. Before I go on, I need to specify that it's not just all don katsu. Just the particular frozen brand that they sell at my local grocer.

What is don katsu? In short, it is breaded pork. The frozen kind that I am talking about comes in the form of don katsu nuggets, so if this fact disqualifies it from being true don katsu, then sue me. It's just easier than saying "breaded pork nuggets."

I discovered it about a month ago while trolling through Daiei on an empty stomach. I know, you're not supposed to go grocery shopping while your stomach is rumbling, lest you buy out the entire store, but that's the way I operate, people. Anyway, I didn't have anything in particular I needed to buy (another mistake... Suze Orman might have my head), and as I strolled by the frozen veggies section, I caught a whiff of something wonderful cooking. Now, I don't know the schedule of Daiei's sample days, but they always seem to be sampling at the most random times and usually just one random item. I don't know if it's cuz they have a surplus of something and need to desperately get rid of it, or maybe they have too many employees clocked in that day and someone needed something to do. At any rate, the wonderful cooking smell was that of the don katsu wafting from the little microwave oven. It didn't particularly look appetizing, but the lady was so adorably happy to be offering her tray of samples, so I took one, bowed in thanks, and popped it into my mouth.

Taste explosion!

I had already been thinking that maybe I'll pick up a package (¥348, what a steal!), since the delightul sample lady looked so hopeful and I felt I might be rude to just eat a sample and walk away. Which is weird, because in America I have no qualms about going to Costco and binge eating at all the different sample stations.

Well, after the taste explosion, I picked up a pack not out of obligation but out of sheer NEED. In the back of my head was a little voice that said, "Dude, you're just hungry, it really wasn't THAT tasty," but in the front of my head (nobody ever talks about that part), a much louder, nasal, inescapable voice scramed, "BUY TWENTY PACKAGES AND EAT AT LEAST 10 IN ONE SITTING! DON'T WORRY ABOUT YOUR MOM BERATING YOU ON WEEBLY AND/OR FACEBOOK FOR NOT EATING HEALTHIER AND NEEDING TO EAT MORE VEGGIES! YOU'RE A GROWN WOMAN!" I listened to that voice because I was afraid of what it might do if I didn't. Although, I didn't buy the 20 packages because I only had ¥10,000 in my pocket, and the same front-of-head voice would be angry if I didn't set aside some money for broccoli and cheese.

So that is the basic story of how I first got started on frozen don katsu. Since then, I have blown through about 2 packages a week, but it's not as crazy as it sounds, since there are only about 8 or 9 nuggets in each deceptively small package.

So now, a food review:

The Good

It is ridiculously delicious. It's easy to make. It's cheap. It brings out my eyes.

The Bad

I feel like it has me possessed. There have been nights when I've been lying in bed thinking, "I should pack some for lunch tommorrow. But maybe I can't wait till tomorrow. Maybe I should have some now. I didn't really eat dinner anyway." Then I check the freezer, and I am all out, and the devil laughs.

Also, it's pork. I have been endlessly lectured about how pork is bad for you, it exacerbates gout (which I don't have, but it runs in the family, you know), and in some cultures eating pig means going against god = siding with the devil.

It's fried before it's frozen, at least I think it is.

As mentioned above, the package contains very few of what I want (nuggets) and excess of what I don't want (empty space). The devil's work, for sure.

Sometimes I bite into a nugget and half of it is fat. Tasty, tasty fat.

The Ugly

Coupled with Spicy Black Bean Dip from Trader Joe's it is absolutely impossible to turn down. Why's that so ugly? Cuz I have an extremely limited supply of black bean dip, and once this runs out, I might die.

In conclusion, don katsu is probably my favorite go-to quick fix... er... snack when I'm dining at home. Try it. You'll like it. I give it a B for flavor, a B+ for affordability, an F for healthiness, and an A+ for addictiveness.

10/18/2010 07:24:45 pm

Now I am really curious, but I don't want to side with the devil. Minor conundrum. Do you think that you would be dealing with the devil if you brought one to me at work? Hmm....

10/20/2010 03:00:11 pm

After you gave it an F for healthiness, I'm naming it "Don't Katsu"...B=) "It's a Mom joke", your Dad will say.


Leave a Reply.