Yesterday we brought to you a story about the two New York City chefs, Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat, who recently published an authoritative look at Japanese soul cooking. The soul in soul cooking is a little difficult to figure out. Instead of describing a specific selection of dishes (say, Northern Thai or Carolina picnic), it’s more of a catchall that labels the cuisine established during a period of modernization in Japan called the Meiji Restoration (roughly the 1860s to 1910) and also later during reconstruction after World War II.
Japanese restaurant staples like ramen and tempura are included in this categorization, as well as lesser known foods like okonomiyaki, a savory pancake made with grilled seafood, bonito flakes, powdered aonori and a cross-cross of Kewpie mayo and ponzu sauce. One of the favorite soul dishes to make its way to the United States is tonkatsu, a thinly sliced pork cutlet that is washed with flour and egg and coated with freshly made panko crumbs. Eater’s Robert Sietsema has been visiting a New York City tonkatsu specialist, Katsu-Hama 47, for years and files this thoughtful report about the dish’s Japanese, and Teutonic, origins.