It’s late autumn is Japan and that means the best time to eat oysters is here.
Rock oysters are known as the “milk of the sea” and many locals love eating them raw. In addition to various Chinese and Western-style preparations, one of the popular ways to eat oysters in Japan is deep fried. In this feature, we would like to introduce a deep-fried oyster set meal that can only be eaten in this season at a very popular tonkatsu restaurant, Date-Katsu (伊達KATSU) in Ikebukuro, Tokyo.
This restaurant is located on the 13th floor of the Tobu Department Store at Ikebukuro Station.
There are several kinds of fried oyster set meals available here. You can choose a combination of fried oysters with tonkatsu (deep-fried pork cutlet) or just have fried oysters. We chose a combination of tonkatsu and oysters.
The food is served fairly quickly, and the set meal included two pieces of tonkatsu and two fried oysters.
You can choose white rice or multigrain rice according to your preference: the multigrain is usually the healthy choice.
Along with your meal, you also get a bowl of lightly-toasted, white sesame seeds and you can grind these into a fine powder to sprinkle on your rice.
The sesame is provided in a suribachi (ceramic grinding bowl) and wooden pestle.
Feel free to sprinkle it on the rice or salad.
There are two kinds of side dishes (hijiki & pickled raddish) that go very well with the oysters.
And now time to eat the star of this meal: juicy deep-fried oysters.
Each oyster is huge. We recommend you dip these in the creamy sauce (similar to tartare) provided with the meal.
These perfectly fried oysters are crispy and crunchy on the outside and succulent on the inside with an intense flavor of the sea.
The signature tonkatsu is of course delicious as always, crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
There are two types of sauces for the tonkatsu: a traditional tonkatsu sauce and miso sauce.
A no-oil shiso salad dressing is also available to add to the finely chopped cabbage. The cabbage is a palate cleanser and a good break from the fried food.
If you plan to visit Japan in fall or winter, make sure to try oyster dishes as these are only available seasonally.
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