Tokyo Table Trip

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Tonkatsu is one of the meals which would cost only 1,000~2,000 JPN, yet the level of satisfaction from good tonkatsu is beyond words. I’ve mentioned Manger before, but this time more details and the premium dish in their menu shall be covered. Not many reviews by international foodies cover Manger due to its location, which is not quite in the tourist’s path. It must take someone crazy enough for this kind of tonkatsu pilgrimage.

Manger opens for lunch at 11:00, and lunch admission lasts until 14:00. Don’t even think about walking in. You will go back with an empty stomach, as there are no great restaurants in Yao — unlike in Tokyo, where you can always find plan B. Their website indicates that they will have a sign-up sheet at 9:00. However, diners queue up before 8:30. If you arrive after 8:30, your slot might be 14:00, or you might be turned down if they reach 80 customers. There is a limited number of customers due to their focus on quality and capacity constraints. Dinner starts at 17:00, and you can sign up for dinner when they open for signing up as well. Dinner is less competitive. I don’t think it’s very different, as there’s nowhere to kill 5 hours, so coming back at 14:00 or 17:00 would make a big difference.

Manger was founded in 1996 by Chef. who prepared his tonkatsu with meticulous care. The chef even shared his frying technique on his website.

Pork is a good source of Vitamin B1, but not all pork are equal. It’s just like wine; both breed and terroir affect the quality. Hence why it tastes different. These are the four kinds of pork offered at Manger:

1. Aji pork is raised in Miyazaki. It’s fed with 100% vegetable, no corn, and drinks mineral water.
2. Kurobuta, or black pork, which is basically Berkshire, is raised in Kagoshima. This pig takes longer to be raised as it grows slower than a normal pig.
3. Tokyo X is a phantom pork that is specially bred to get the best flavor and vitamin content. Supply is very limited because of small production, so it’s classified as a phantom. It is similar to fish like Kue, which is regarded as a phantom fish.
4. Iberico is from Spain. They said happy pigs taste better. They roam freely without stress.

At 160 grams, aji pork costs 1,840 JPY, Kagoshima Kurobuta costs 2,390 JPY while Tokyo X costs 2,980 JPY and Iberico is the most expensive at 3,460 JPY. This got a much higher price as the starting price is only 1,000 JPY. As I’ve tried Iberico many times, in this visit, I planned to have Tokyo X for the first time so that I can share my experience with TTT readers. Unfortunately, as I ordered, my heart sank to hear that because Tokyo X is super popular, it’s completely sold out. I resorted to black pork from Kagoshima instead. I chose the big set so I can try their special hire again.

The chef carefully prepped his tonkatsu. I observed and found out that he did what he suggested in his tip on his website. There is nothing secret about it. He then fried it at 170°C and let it rested for two minutes. Resting is very important as it’s internal heat still does it’s magic, and your tonkatsu won’t leak myoglobin or the liquid, which is the protein in muscle tissues out of the meat. The frying is textbook perfect. The pork was succulent.

You can choose between white truffle-infused salt or black charcoal. I chose black truffle salt. The chef’s assistant will sprinkle the salt on an empty plate so you can glaze the salt over the tonkatsu. Maybe if they offered the salt on a saucer, some diners couldn’t sprinkle or spread the salt evenly.

Their secret tonkatsu sauce is made from 10 kinds of fruits. What an effort to make this sauce with so many ingredients! This is one of the best tonkatsu sauces, thanks to its mild yet complex flavor. It’s also not too sweet. I find a sauce that is too sweet quite a put-off. Many diners would be surprised to get sweetness in their savory dish. Nevertheless, it’s sometimes a good match, e.g., foie gras and jam, haru maki or spring roll with plum sauce, roast pork with apple sauce, Peking duck with sweet black sauce, jjajangmyeon in Korea, etc. I also love applying a bit of mustard to enhance the flavor further.

While you need to expend so much effort before you can dine at Manger in Yao, I still think it’s a great tonkatsu restaurant you should visit if you happen to be in Yao or somewhere nearby. Sign up at 8:30 for dinner at 17:00, and then you can plan around the visit. To make a special tonkatsu trip just to dine at Manger might be too much work for the average diner, as it will take you one whole day and may waste lots of time.

Tonkatsu Manger Menu List

<Standard Tonkatsu>
◆Pork Loin
120 grams 1,000 yen
160 grams 1,260 yen
250 grams 1,770 yen
320 grams 2,290 yen
380 grams 2,810 yen

◆ Pork Shoulder Loin
170 grams 1,100 yen

◆Pork Tenderloin
Tenderloin Tonkatsu (130 grams) 1,000 yen
Special Tenderloin Tonkatsu (200 grams) 1,620 yen
Superior Tenderloin Tonkatsu (160 grams) 1,120 yen
Log Tenderloin Tonkatsu (170 grams) 1,460 yen
Tenderloin and Onion Skewer (2 skewers) 1,360 yen
One Bite Sized Tonkatsu (110 grams) 980 yen

<Brand Pork>
◆Aji Buta Pork
M (160 grams) 1,840 yen
L (260 grams) 2,420 yen

◆Kuro Buta (Black Pork)
M (160 grams) 2,390 yen
L (260 grams) 2,920 yen

◆TOKYO-X (160 grams) 2,980 yen

◆Iberian Pork (160 grams) 3,460 yen

<Seafood>
Fried Shrimp with head (1 piece) 420 yen
Fried Scallop (1 piece) 360 yen
Crab Cream Croquette (1 piece) 60 yen

<A la Carte Menu>
Fois Gras Tonkatsu 1,780 yen
Rich Tonkatsu 1,030 yen
Cheese-wrapped Tonkatsu 1,000 yen
Gorgonzola Tonkatsu 1,180 yen
Yuzu Pepper Tonkatsu 1,100 yen
Fried Tenderloin and Prosciutto Scallop Roll 800 yen
Shrimp with Head Chesterfield 740 yen
Garlic Tonkatsu 1,050 yen

<Supreme Tonkatsu Assortment Menu>
Superior Loin and Super Special Tenderloin Tonkatsu
2,120 yen
Aji Pork and Super Special Tenderloin Tonkatsu 2,580 yen
TOKYO-X and Super Special Tenderloin Tonkatsu 3,800 yen
Iberian and Super Special Tenderloin Tonkatsu 4,300 yen

<Original Set Menu>
◆Select Set A 3,100 yen
Fois Gras Tonkatsu x 2 pieces
Super Special Tenderloin Tonkatsu x 2 piecss
Superior Loin Tonkatsu x 120 grams
Champagne Sherbet x 1
◆Select Set B 3,100 yen
An Angel's Fried Shrimp x 2 pieces
Super Special Tenderloin Tonkatsu x 2 pieces
Superior Loin Tonkatsu x 120 grams
Champagne Sherbet x 1
*Loin Tonkatsu can be changed to the following
Change to Aji Buta: Plus 300 yen
Change to Kuro Buta: Plus 500 yen

Three Types of Tonkatsu 6,000 yen
Aji Buta Loin (Change to Kagoshima Kuro Buta (260 grams) for 500 yen plus)
Superior Loin Tonkatsu 260 grams
Super Special Tenderloin Tonkatsu x 6 pieces

<Sandwiches>
Loin Katsu Sandwich 1,250 yen
Tenderloin Katsu Sandwich 1,400 yen
Shrimp Katsu Sandwich 1,520 yen
Superior Loin Katsu Sandwich 1,630 yen
Superior Tenderloin Katsu Sandwich 1,660 yen
Aji Buta Sandwich 2,240 yen
Kuro Buta Sandwich 2,400 yen

◆Tonkatsu Manger
Address:2-3-22 Yokoen, Yao-city, Osaka
Phone: 072-996-0175
Nearest Station:5 minutes on foot from JR Kansai-hon Line's "Yao Station"
Hours:11:00-14:00/17:00-20:30
Closed:Mondays and Tuesdays

Writer:Localtaste

Local taste had taken a long journey searching for delicious meals long before the dawn of social media, roaming from one city to another from the Far East to the west, over 160 cities in four continents and more than 400,000 miles during the last 37 years.
His dining spots over thousands of restaurants range from eating in a hole in the wall in Asia to all ten Michelin 3-star restaurants in Paris. More than decades was spent on chasing for perfect xiao long bao.
Because he is not in food business nor food writer, his article won’t be found elsewhere but exclusively on tokyotabletrip.com as a tribute to Leo Saito’s altruistic deed to help international visitors discover the beauty of Japanese cuisine.

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Shi

Thank you @Localtaste for the article! We may have an opportunity to try and stop by during our time in Osaka - sadly my Japanese is elementary at best, do you feel that would be an obstacle?

10 months ago

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localtaste

@Shi language, unlike the commute time, wouldn’t be an obstacle, in your particular case. However, if u want Tokyo x, u had better be there at least 10 mins before the queue starting time. If u go say 8:40, Tokyo X could be gone or u might end up with 1pm round. Being there later isn’t recommend as they stop once they got sold out. Yao is in a middle of nowhere with great restaurants so one good meal slot is gone.

They got English menu. You can see their menu here under photo / menu. Tonkatsu Manger
2 Chome-3-22 Yokoen, Yao, Osaka 581-0086, Japan
+81 72-996-0175
https://goo.gl/maps/wxNUX2Wrcy5apDSY8

10 months ago
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Shi

Sincerely appreciate the response, I will discuss it with my wife and endeavor to convince her to make the Tonkatsu pilgrimage with me!

10 months ago
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localtaste

It does take up almost a day if u factor in commute and waiting time. There’s nothing in Yao. I wouldn’t recommend doing so for every diner.

10 months ago
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Shi

Sadly on the morning I had planned to venture forth my wife vetoed the idea, perhaps next time!

8 months ago
Eab8dbbd 6732 4948 b852 ca447c818547

localtaste

@Shi visiting Manger Takes so much time and effort. Unless u happen to be in the area, For most tourists, both of you Might enjoy some other things more.

Another alternative plan for u is Kaiyukan + lunch at either Uemura (formal) or Yoshitora (booking is possible) or Rocking billy Super one in Amagasagki.

8 months ago
Eab8dbbd 6732 4948 b852 ca447c818547

localtaste

@Shi maybe you should try the new restaurant at 342 Bowery. They should open soon.

8 months ago
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Shi

@localtaste Thank you so much for the recommendations as well as the information regarding the new opening of 342 Bowery - unfortunately it currently looks like we won't be able to return to Japan until January of next year but I will absolutely keep your suggestions in mind and add them to our itinerary!

Thank you again for all your insight and help on our culinary crusade!

8 months ago
Eab8dbbd 6732 4948 b852 ca447c818547

localtaste

@Shi you’re welcome. 342 Bowery is only 6-7 stations from your place. (6 line) so you don’t need to wait til next year to enjoy great dinner. Please let me know how it goes as I decided not to return this quarter.

7 months ago
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Shi

@localtaste Oh interesting I didn't even consider that it was in Manhattan - though unfortunately it seems like there's been a mixup as I'm based in Atlanta and only have the opportunity to take occasional trips to NYC though when we do visit we tend to stay in the noho/lower east side/alphabet city area so will be quite convenient! If we get the opportunity to visit soon will definitely keep you posted but like so many others during this time we've been in lockdown to minimise the spread of covid.

Still truly appreciated though, when responsibility keeps us at home the correspondence here is a small solace from the outside world!

7 months ago

guest

Thank you for the great write up local taste. How would you compare this restaurant to Narikura (new shop) in Tokyo. Do you have a preference of either or think either one makes better/higher quality Tonkatsu?

10 months ago

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localtaste

I haven’t been to the new Narikura and haven’t planned so. Narikura is frying at lower temperature. The diff is the texture / color of poncho coat. Narikura got lighter color. I would describe as more feminine. When you fry at higher temp, you will get golden brown and crunchier coating which I would describe as more macho.

If u like frying at lower temp, I would recommend Narikura. Fans of low temp frying will definitely curse if they go to Yao and waste one day based on my recommendation.

Manger got truffle salt which is so aromatic. Also, the tonkatsu sauce is the best and wins other shops by landslides.

For pork, it depends on the brand of pork u choose at each shop. As for rice, almost not much differences unlike Rice at kaiseki places.

The best person to have the answer if u should visit is yourself. Each person has different criteria and assign different values to each criteria. I would give different recommendation based on each diner if I know more eg what u r looking for, your like and dislike, your experience with tonkatsu, how much u could spend on waiting, etc.

I should have mentioned truffle salt at manger. If u like truffle, it’s another reason u would like this shop. For me, I like porcini, Matsutake, maitake, morels, etc more than truffles, with the exception of tartufo bianco from alba.

Hope this helps.

10 months ago

guest

Thanks localtaste for the wonderful writeup!

10 months ago

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localtaste

Hope the writeup is helpful.

10 months ago

Leo Saito

chief editor, TokyoTableTrip

Article on a tonkatsu restaurant whose popularity as one of the best tonkatsu restaurants in Japan rivals Narikura.

10 months ago

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