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Tiny Bites: Crispy Fried Pork at Saboten Japanese Cutlet

EatPost Category - EatEat - Post Category - Family FriendlyFamily Friendly

From Indian to Thai to Korean, Tsim Sha Tsui is a foodie haven for different cuisines if your kids are hankering after something beyond the usual hamburger and shake. We typically categorise Japanese more for date-night dining (have you ever met a 6-year-old who likes sashimi?), but we can safely guarantee that your little ones will happily scarf down the food at Saboten. This restaurant has recently launched its second location in Tsim Sha Tsui (the first is in Causeway Bay) so we thought we’d pop down to check out their signature premium pork tonkatsu dishes.

We immediately admired the sleek, earthy decor among arrival, but of course, were more enthused about stuffing our stomachs with ample portions of crispy fried pork! And let me tell you, the menu does not disappoint…

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We started off with a healthy selection of side dishes as a precursor to the fried fiesta to come. We especially loved the bright and refreshing tofu and seaweed salad with ume sauce. The salad has just enough zing and colour from the cherry tomatoes to (hopefully) get kids to swallow a forkful or two for their daily vegetable quota!


But enough about tofu, on to the star of the show… the tonkatsu! Saboten serves up its premium pork in all different variations — topped with radish, smothered in hot miso, rolled and deep fried and stuffed with cheese and ham (kids love this one!). We wanted to sample a bit of everything, so we went for the Saboten Combo, which includes deep fried shrimp, deep fried pork tenderloin, deep fried pork lion and crab meat cream croquettes.

Everything is coated with Saboten’s “secret recipe” bread crumbs, blended fresh every day, and served with Saboten’s original Tonkatsu sauce incorporating spices and vegetables from Hokkaido. The pork was perfectly moist and tender, and delicious with the dipping sauce and a squeeze of acidity from the lemon. We also enjoyed the creamy crab and cheese croquettes for the bit of variety on the plate.


We had been recommended the pork mille-feuille as a must-try, so of course we had to order it! One bite into this katsu and I was hooked. The mille-feuille is made from 20-22 layers of thinly sliced pork, rolled together and deep-fried. The layers give it an amazing juiciness and texture. This is definitely the dish that will get your kids’ “finger-lickin’ good” stamp of approval!


Finally, the pork with miso is also one of Saboten’s more unique dishes. The fried pork tenderloin comes swimming in a hot and spicy miso broth. Despite the thick miso sauce, the bread coating was surprisingly still crispy and packed with flavour. This is definitely down-home comfort food, but I would avoid ordering it if your kids are still in the stage where they’re rejecting anything spicy.

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There are no low points as far as the menu’s concerned as everything we tried was mouth-wateringly delicious! The only note I would point out is that the prices aren’t cheap like your grab-and-go burger, but for the quality of meat and precision of flavours you’re getting, it’s hands down worth it!

Stroller access
Yes, take the lift up one floor and you can store strollers in the roomy reception area.

Kids’ menu
There is a kids combo on the menu which includes bite-sized pork tenderloin, crab meat cream croquettes, french fries and a juice for $78. The pork is the same, so I would recommend just ordering off the regular menu, dividing and conquering (unless the little ones want french fries!)


Price range
Tonkatsu dishes range from $128-188 depending on the size, type of pork and combination. All meal sets include unlimited amounts of crispy shredded cabbage salad (which is pretty much as tasty as a cabbage salad can get!), pickles, rice and miso soup. Some sets also include dessert — a sweet combination of agar jelly, sweet azuki bean and green tea or vanilla ice cream.

Opening hours
Daily from 12pm-3:30pm and 6-11pm.

Saboten Japanese Cutlet 1/F, Tern Plaza, 5 Cameron Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon, Hong Kong; 2295 3116


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