Notable Nosh: Oyster Katsu

Nosh - Oyster Katsu

Although this dish that I tried at Wasabi in Ottawa last July wasn’t very good, it does represent something of an interesting novelty and so deserves a mention here…

If you enjoy Japanese cuisine, you have probably tasted, or at least come across, the popular dish known as ‘Tonkatsu’. For those of you who have not heard of this, it is essentially a pork cutlet that has been tenderized and then deep-fried in a panko breading. Indeed, the suffix ‘katsu’ actually comes from ‘katsuretsu’, which is a corruption of the English ‘cutlet’. Often, the cutlet is served over shredded cabbage and it always comes with a sweetish, brown ‘katsu sosu’, which is basically a thickened, Japanese style Worcestershire sauce. At Wasabi, they have made deep-fried oysters a ‘katsu’ preparation by serving it, somewhat innovatively, with the very same sort of sauce.

My disappointment with this dish lay primarily in the fact that it was very poorly executed. The deep-fry oil was clearly old and past its best, yielding a greasy result, and the ratio of breading was too high. I could taste oyster in a few places here and there but, otherwise, I could have been eating any (very mild) whitefish, or plain old clam. If that were not enough, the whole was overcooked and very carelessly allowed to lump together so that the three oysters formed one, fused mass.

Beyond that disappointment, I have to say that the ‘katsu’ sauce just didn’t work here, in my opinion. It is perfectly okay with pork (although still not my favorite), but with oyster the flavors just didn’t complement one another very well. I’ll be deep-frying oysters at home as the opportunity arises, but I think, on the whole, that I’ll be giving the Worcestershire type dipping sauces a miss….

 

8 thoughts on “Notable Nosh: Oyster Katsu”

  1. Ohh, I haven’t had oyster katsu for 15 years! I am allergic to oyster. Still, I miss the taste and am jealous of anyone who can eat it. About tonkatsu sauce, I find it overpowering for me. Like soy sauce or ketchup, once the foods are dressed with it, I tasted nothing other than the sauce. So I don’t use tonkatsu sauce even when I eat tonkatsu (which my mom finds over the top)…(^-^;)

  2. Where I come from, way down South, we call this “fried oysters”. Some use cornmeal, others use flour and cornmeal. the secret is to be sure the oil is boiling hot, then to drop a few at a time, and then quickly pull them out to drain. crispy on the outside, warm and juicy on the outside. I make my own milder tonkatsu sauce: ketchup, some Worcestershire, a bit of fresh ginger, and a bit of garlic.

      1. Exactly. And they are good, pulled fresh from a bed. We have small cluster oysters we all coon oysters, so called because raccoons can easily open them and eat – sweet and with ocean still in them, mingling with their own juices.

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