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Published by Oat Sitalasai — 5 years ago

During my first few weeks in Paris, I challenged myself to use the metro as little as possible. The sole purpose of this was to simply discover new places and see new things and basically become a bit more familiar with the place I now call home, at least for the next nine months or so. Like any good Japanese person (I’m not even Japanese, but long story), I started to have this intense craving for Japanese food. After all, I did spend six years growing up there, so other than the lovely people and beautiful places, the food is another element I dearly miss.

I was lucky enough to have come across “Sanukiya” while walking around the Opéra area. I’ve heard from a friend that a street full of Japanese restaurants was nearby, but with me being so great with directions (not), I got lost. I got lost and came across what at the time was a wonderful surprise. It was a cold, rainy day, very typical during that period. With my experience in recognising real Japanese eateries, I had a quick look at the menu display outside. The menu was both in French and Japanese. Great, now that’s usually a good sign since it shows that the place is run Japan natives. I then peeked through the window. Then I saw what seemed to be Japanese staff attentively taking care of the business.

I had no doubts about going in, and my stomach agreed. I was greeted in Japanese - which again ticks the box for an authentic Japanese restaurant - and was led to my table. The restaurant had an outside terrace which was covered for the winter months with a few heaters but that did me no good. I asked to be moved inside in which the staff happily understood and assisted me.

I had another closer look at the menu. Sanukiya specializes in Udon. Unfortunately, I’m not much of an udon or soba person, so my choices decreased by a huge margin. However, for those that do not enjoy udon like myself, there are plenty of other choices. They also have a good menu featuring Japanese drinks, including sake and other spirits for those wanting to try something new. Another thing that really surprised me here was the fact that they have a winter-classic snack from Japan, called "Oden". You could have a bunch of different things in Oden, which essentially has a rich Japanese broth as serves as soup, really perfect for winter months. This was the first place in Paris that I found something very Japanese apart from the usual ramen, sushi, and yakitori.

I went for a classic Katsudon, which is a piece of pork, coated with panko breadcrumbs and deep-fried until beautiful golden color. The dish itself doesn’t come with rice, so I ordered one to accompany the meat. The meal arrived in no time. The presentation of the dish as you could see from the photo is more or less what you would experience in a restaurant in Japan. The way the meat was laid out on the plate, with fresh salad by its side. And of course, an elegant dollop of mustard. The Tonkatsu sauce, which is often homemade or modified from chef to chef, was delicious with the sprinkle of sesame seeds. My bowl of rice also had a teaspoon of pickled vegetables, which was well-preserved.

Now for the exciting bit, the taste. The pork was divine. You could tell that the chef knows what he/she is doing by the way the meat is passed through the flour, then the egg wash, then the panko breadcrumbs. During my time elsewhere, I, unfortunately, came across other variations of tonkatsu where the coating of breadcrumbs was all over the place when cutting into pieces. The one here kept its shape very well and was crispy. It was executed perfectly to be simple. The salad was fresh and crunchy. The sauce, may I say again, was excellent and went flawless with the pork. The rice was a prime example of how Japanese rice should be. The grains were towards the smaller end in comparison to Thai jasmine rice and that’s exactly how they should be. The rice held on together very well, as they should always be slightly sticky. Perfection was the word, from the service to the food to the ambiance and decoration, to even the music they played in the background. The music made me feel right back in Japan as it brought back so many high school memories. And of course, the Japanese staffs chatting in their harmonic language in the background.


I think I might have said enough to persuade you to try out this place. I’ve taken a picture of the backside of their business card for you to get a better idea of where this restaurant is!


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