Nagoya Meshi the famous food of Nagoya is generally associated with one thing: Aka Miso, the red Miso typically only found in and around Nagoya.
In contrast to other kinds of Miso, Hatcho Miso the Aka Miso of Aichi prefecture is solely made from soybeans and fermented for up to 2 to 3 years.
This Miso has been produced in the same way since the Edo period (1603 – 1868) and originated in Hatcho a town in the south of Nagoya very close to Okazaki castle.
It is the base for many delicious Nagoya dishes including Miso Nikomi Udon, Dote-ni, Miso Oden and of course Miso Katsu, the dish we are going to talk about in more detail here.
Miso Katsu the Tonkatsu of Nagoya
Tonkatsu is a deep-fried pork cutlet served with thinly sliced cabbage, rice and Miso soup all over Japan. It is usually seasoned with Tonkatsu sauce or mustard, but in Nagoya, the seasoning is a sauce made of Hatcho Miso and broth and other kinds of ingredients (a secret kept by every Miso Katsu restaurant).
The unique, strong Miso flavor might take some getting used to for people tasting Miso Katsu for the first time, but chances are once you have finished your serving you are hooked and want to come back for more. At least that’s how I felt tasting Miso Katsu for the first time.
Other variations of Miso Katsu include Miso Katsu Don a Miso Katsu served on a bowl of rice or Teppan Miso Katsu, where the Miso Katsu is served on a sizzling hot plate.
Miso Katsu can be made from different parts of pork, I found pork loin and rib to be best for Katsu, rather than fillet which might just be a little bit too dry.
Where to Eat the Best Miso Katsu in Nagoya
In the Aichi region, Miso Katsu can be found on many coffee shop lunch menus and so you should really have an easy job of finding a place to try Miso Katsu no matter where you are.
But there is one restaurant that has been the number one place for Miso Katsu for many years: Misokatsu Yabaton
Since it was established in 1947 Misokatsu Yabaton has had the crown as the best place to eat Miso Katsu in Nagoya.
The restaurant only uses the best kind of pork from southern Kyushu, original bread crumbs to create a crispy deep-fried crust, and of course, a special Aka Miso sauce made from Miso that has been fermented for 1 and a half years.
For beginners of Miso Katsu, I recommend the Waraji Tonkatsu Teishoku made from the loin with half-and-half Miso sauce and standard Tonkatsu sauce. That way you can get used to the rich flavor of Miso without being overwhelmed.
There are currently 14 shops all around Nagoya but also in other parts of the country such as Tokyo and Osaka and they all command long lines, especially during lunchtime. When I went to the one at Meitetsu Department Store close to Nagoya Station there was a line of more than 20 people even before 12 o’clock, traditionally the lunchtime in Japan.
MISOKATSU YABATON (NAGOYA STATION MEITETSU)
Opening Hours: 11:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Address: Meitetsu Department Store 9F, Meieki 1-2-1, Nakamura Ward, Nagoya 450-0002
Final Thoughts about Miso Katsu
Miso Katsu can seem intimidating at first. As a foreigner whose sole experience with Miso is Miso soup, it is hard to imagine the taste of Miso Katsu. Therefore I encourage you to visit a Misokatsu Yabaton restaurant during your visit to Nagoya, for a foodie learning experience that will broaden not only your mind but enrich your pallet.
Did you know that we organize daily food tours in Nagoya? Check out the Nagoya Meshi Food Tour if you want to have a once in a lifetime foodie experience in Nagoya.
Ready to Book your Trip to Nagoya?
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If you want to find out more about Nagoya you should read the Nagoya Travel Guide for the most important information. You can also check these posts:
- Things to do in Nagoya
- 1 day Nagoya itinerary
- Visit Atsuta Jingu the most sacred place in Nagoya
- Day trips from Nagoya you shouldn’t miss
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In love with Japan and its amazing food, Lena wants to share her passion with the world. That’s why she started Nagoya Foodie. To teach about Nagoya, her adoptive home online through blog posts and offline through unique food tours.