Pork & Asparagus @ Butaya 豚王

A long while back, I noticed Butaya had open in Richmond when I was visiting True’s Tea on Alexandra Road, but I never took the time to go there.  I was excited to see a tonkatsu place had popped up since there weren’t any other specialty shops back then (now there’s Saboten too)! I went to a tonkatsu specialty restaurant in Tokyo a while back and wanted to relive that here.  They pride themselves as the first in the Lower Mainland.

Finally, I went last week with Mama Leung.  As I walked in, I saw familiar faces! That’s right, I had an obsession with Wo Fung a few years back and went there every week, so I recognized the Wo Fung family.  No wonder I never see them at Aberdeen anymore.  The fact that it’s run by them gave me a bit more confidence in their deep-frying skills, but it also made me question its authenticity.

They have a few combos that came with miso soup and rice.

The meals actually took quite a while after ordering, but they gave us each a mortar and pestle with roasted sesame to keep us busy.   I have no problem with doing this myself – I like playing with food.  The place in Tokyo also the same thing, but they were much more generous with the sesame there.

The cabbage here, compared to Saboten, was not as crunchy.  Instead of being served with a vinaigrette type dressing, it was served with a creamy dressing, though it still had a hint of yuzu to it.

The first combo we ordered was the pork loin tonkatsu ($9.99).  Although a bit more expensive than Saboten, this one was much bigger than the cutlet from the food court comparative.  Mind you, Saboten didn’t have a miso soup or dessert, nor was it served on real tableware or with real cutlery.

In comparison, the panko here was more tightly packed, sticking to the pork much better.  However, this did mean that it was less fluffy – instead it was crunchier… kind of reminded me of the fried layer on chicken strips (but this was much fresher of course).  I think I like the fluffiness of Saboten’s more, but that one was also much oilier.  I can’t decide! The loin meat here was firmer and less fatty – closer to tenderloin than loin compared to that of Aberdeen’s.

The other combo we shared was the breaded pork rolls with asparagus ($10.99), which is asparagus wrapped with seaweed, thin slices of pork, covered with panko and fried.  This has always been something that I’ve always wanted to try, just because it sounds so amazing.  It reminds me of bacon-wrapped-anything.  

Indeed, the asparagus didn’t touch the oil in any way since it still retained its moisture quite well.  And the pork slices were indeed quite thin – enough to be negligible.  It kind of felt like I was eating just the outer panko layer with asparagus.  I preferred the loin more.

It also turns out that each combo came with a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Still don't really know how I feel about Butaya, now that I have Saboten to compare it with.  (I actually went to Saboten two days before this meal, so I remember it quite well.)  I wish they could combine the meat from here with the panko at Saboten.  And although the asparagus was interesting, I'd skip it.  Still, it was a good meal, and I liked it. 

Butaya 豚王
8400 Alexandra Road, 
Richmond, BC   
(604) 312-6866 
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