Kimchi Katsu-don (Photo: Bret de Colebi)
- 2 min read


The most popular pork cutlets in Saijo

A hole in the wall, a hide-away, and the best kept secret of its patrons, the ever popular Gokaku is the best place for pork cutlets—if you can get a seat. Located between the northwest entrance of the shotengai and the Uchinuki spring across from city hall, Gokaku is very centrally located in the city. Despite this, it exudes a profound small-town feel.

It's easy enough to walk past Gokaku without noticing it, since it's at the corner of a building and has no windows or fancy signs and lights. Its sign is actually dominated by the words—written kanji hewn into stone— Katsudon Ichiba. Yet Gokaku needs no such sign for locals in the know. The restaurant, with its mere 8 seats, is always packed and people will often wait outside for great lengths of time to get in. My recommendation to avoid this; don't go anytime during lunch (12 to 1), and be prepared to wait during standard dinner hours.

The interior is intimate, to say the least—just a simple bar with stools and a nook for the cook. The cook is always the only worker there, and though bright and cheerful, is always absorbed in making the food. Its hard to wait, when in such tight quarters you can smell the chef's work so intensely.

Now for the main event, of course, the katsudon itself (pork cutlet on rice). There are a variety of options. You can get regular, extra, or double portions of katsu, along with regular, extra, or double portions of cheese and/or egg. Some vegetables, in particular kimchi style white cabbage, are also options. Although most people order the donburi, it's possible to order the katsu and rice on separate trays. The katsu is most certainly the best in town. Cut, battered, breaded and fried right before your eyes, this katsu's ratio strongly favors the pork cutlet. Furthermore, the pork is so tender and rich that it makes it hard to eat katsu in a standard restaurant again. Just to try it, I once ordered the double katsu, double cheese, double egg option and literally could not finish it, despite all efforts. This is a meal where your tastebuds as well as your stomach will be telling you how satisfying it was for the rest of the day.

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Ryan a year ago
GW2023 and my first time in Seijo. Happy to report that, 11 years after this article was written, this place is still open and the katsudon is exactly as delicious as described. The place is no looker though, but leaves some of the venerated katsuyas in kyoto and tokyo in its wake. Well worth my detour.
Ryan a year ago
Just asked the chef - she opened it 27years ago. That’s some experience cooking the same dish!

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