in bid to perform some analytics to my this pseudo blog business operations (allow me to indulge awhile), i wanted to see exactly how long it took me to blog a food post – first with the selection of pictures, touching them up slightly, loading, and then the actual blogging. mind you, i’m quickly realising that this blog thingy requires a fair bit of discipline. of course, one could argue that ya’know.. just blog when you feel like it, but that’s precisely my issue for most things — if you do things when you feel like it, you mostly do nothing much. and hence this blogging has become more of a discipline for me at times, just to show myself (haha) that i can carry through what i say and plan to do a few months ago.
ok back to food business. so yesterday we headed to the airport, T1 to pick up my sis who had finally flown back from vancouver to the sunny, crowded shores of singapore. our initial intention was just to have a simple meal at paradise inn, but after seeing the miling crowds outside the place, and the surprisingly long queue at astons specialities, we settled for saboten.
now for people who don’t know about restaurants like saboten and tonkichi, these tonkatsu restaurants have a laser focus on perfecting the art of the tonkatsu, otherwise known as the breaded pork cutlet. try going there to order your typically chawanmushi or tempura and be prepared to be disappointed, because every page of the menu is some tonkatsu set meal or a variant of that. the restaurants operate under a very simple theory, we serve only one thing — the tonkatsu, and damnit we’ll do it damn well. its a pretty decent idea, but you need to know what you’re in for. furthermore, rice and cabbage come free flow, so for the mighty hungry, you can satiate yourself by carbo loading or veggie loading.
now a word on the condiments. the restaurant doesn’t make it very easy for first timers to figure out which sauce goes with which, so here’s some friendly reference. the small bowl filled with sesame seeds is for one to pound to your desired level of fragmentation before ladling out copious amounts of sweet tonkatsu sauce (look for the thick, brown, syrupy one). that sauce+sesame is reserved for the dipping with your tonkatsu. and honestly, the combination is pretty darn good. traditions last for a reason ehh. in terms of salad dressing, saboten offers a vinaigrette-esque sauce or a more traditional thousand island-esque sauce for one to dump on their salad. i prefer the vinaigrette one, so its up to you.
now lets talk tonkatsu. the tonkatsu here is good, and expectedly so. the bread crumbs exterior is delicately crunchy and melts in one’s mouth and doesn’t give you a sense of oilyness (which happens if you use stale oil or too much oil) or jer-lak ness. it is fragrant, delicious, though i somewhat wish the pork within was pounded/tenderized slightly more. good, hearty comfort food from the japanese.
price-wise, its pretty decent. a medium-order of the tonkatsu set will set you back by about 19 dollars, and with the salad/miso soup/rice/green tea ice cream as accompaniments, you are guaranteed to be satisfied. the place is slightly cheaper than tonkichi with no apparently drop in taste level. service is acceptable, and almost gives the place a street-cred of being authentic what with japanglish-speaking waitresses. notice i didnt talk about the ambience, because seriously, what do u expect of a airport establishment — its very open concept, cafeteria style that can get relatively noisy. 6.5/10
saboten | 80 Airport Boulevard, #031-004 Departure Check-in Hall Level 3, Changi Airport Terminal 1 -and- 9 Raffles Boulevard, #P3-01 Parco Marina Bay, Millenia Walk | japanese, comfort food, tonkatsu
*the post took a grand total of 30 mins.