Red miso katsudon is one of Nagoya's soul foods. You can find the dish served at countless restaurants throughout the city, and there are even a couple chain restaurants that specialize in it. However, the original, and perhaps best miso katsudon can be found at a small, local restaurant that has been open since 1949. Don't miss this delicious miso katsudon when you're in Nagoya!
'Aji Dokoro Kanau' is a small shop located just 3 minutes from Sakae Station in central Nagoya. The shop has been in operation for 70 years (as of 2019), and is well known and loved for its 'Ganso Miso Katsudon.' This restaurant should definitely be on the itinerary of everyone who visits or lives in Nagoya!
Classic and Unbeatable Miso Katsudon
'Kanau' make a very simple and unfussy miso katsudon that is irresistibly delicious. The thick pork cutlet is breaded with coarse, fresh breadcrumbs and deep fried in vegetable oil, making the katsu rich yet easy on the stomach. The luxurious miso sauce that coats the finished katsu (and the key ingredient in 'miso' katsudon) is made from premium 'Haccho Miso' from nearby Okazaki.
'Ganso Miso Katsudon' ¥1,320 (tax incl.)
The finished dish consists simply of a bed of rice, miso-soaked katsu, and a soft-boiled egg in the middle. What really sets it apart is the deep, rich miso sauce that perfectly coats the katsu without destroying the breading, something that is not easily done! The flavor is sweet and rich and fills the whole pallet with a rich miso flavor. It's really a special flavor that screams 'Nagoya.' Breaking into the yolk of the egg and eating it together with the katsu is also wonderful, and nicely balances the strong miso flavor.
Add a large portion of green onions for an extra ¥100
Green onions can also be added for an additional 100 yen. The onions bring a lovely freshness to the dish, that complements the other flavors perfectly.
A Showa-Era Atmosphere
'Kanau' started as a kappo(traditional Japanese cuisine) restaurant when it first opened in 1949, and served the now famous miso katsudon on its menu back then. Nowadays, the store specializes only in miso katsudon and miso ebidon (shrimp bowl). Miso katsu is now thought of as one of Nagoya's specialties, and it can be found served across the city and in other parts of Japan. However, 'kanau,' this small shop tucked away in Sakae, is where it was invented!
The shop has retained its showa-era atmosphere and feels very authentic and unpretentious, despite the many signatures of celebrities lining the wall.
Mr. Sugimoto, the original owner, cooking in the kitchen
The shop turned 70 years old in March of this year, and Mr. Sugimoto, the original owner is now 86 years old. Although the shop was passed on to a second generation owner, the ingredients and methods haven't changed, and the flavor remains faithful to the original!