Tsuzuku has affordable Japanese tonkatsu sets in Berseh Food Centre
I’m a huge fan of Japanese food, especially tonkatsu AKA Japanese pork cutlet. However, when I find myself at a hawker centre, I tend to gravitate towards other options such as ban mian or chicken rice, as Japanese food tends to come at a higher price tag. When I was tasked to review Tsuzuku, a new stall at Berseh Food Centre, I was drawn towards their affordable tonkatsu sets, which are all priced below $10. Founded by Mayu Tanabe and her husband Daniel Guo, Tsuzuku has already garnered a loyal customer base despite opening less than a month ago.
Food at Tsuzuku
Currently, Tsuzuku’s menu predominantly features fried food, though the couple is planning on adding more dishes to their lineup soon. We opted for the Curry Katsu Set, which is the only dish that comes with Japanese curry.
Priced at $8.80, the meal comes with thick tonkatsu slices, two pieces of breaded shrimp, and a generous serving of Japanese curry. Each set also includes a side of salad, featuring shredded cabbage drizzled with Japanese sesame dressing, and a single cherry tomato.
I was genuinely impressed by the presentation. Had I not known that the food came from a hawker stall, I could have easily mistaken it for restaurant fare. The portions, especially of the meat, were also generous.
The tonkatsu boasted a glistening brown exterior and was slightly pinkish in the middle. Its thin breading was light and airy, sans any discernable greasiness despite having just come out of the fryer. Each bite delivered a soft and satisfying crunch, and I dare say it was one of the crispiest tonkatsu I’ve ever tasted.
Unfortunately, the meat inside was a tad too dry. It’s worth noting that Tsuzuku uses a leaner cut of pork, which unfortunately made it rather tough after deep-frying. I did, however, enjoy the subtle porky flavours of the meat.
On the bright side, I loved the ebi tempura, each piece nearly as big as my index finger. The crispy thin batter struck the perfect batter-to-prawn ratio, and the fresh prawns were delightfully bouncy. While I found the batter to be a tad oily, it was nothing a quick tissue pat-down couldn’t fix.
As for the Japanese curry, it was uber creamy and flavorful, leaning towards the sweeter side. While I anticipated a more robust flavour, Tsuzuku’s rendition was not too jelak and was easy on the palate. It also came with soft chunks of potato and carrot that added a touch of sweetness to the dish.
We also tried the Minced Katsu Set ($7.80), another one of their highly raved-about dishes. Unlike the katsu curry set, this came with the salad served on the same plate, and a separate bowl of rice on the side. Additionally, it came with two pieces of the same breaded shrimp.
The minced katsu comprised a blend of ground beef and pork, and had a slightly grainy texture that reminded me of a Hamburg patty. While it wasn’t exceptionally juicy, it did offer a tender bite with each spoonful. Its standout feature, much like the breaded shrimp, was its satisfyingly crispy exterior.
The patty had a milder flavour profile and a subtle savouriness that I enjoyed. If you have a penchant for bolder flavours, I suggest dipping the minced meat in the accompanying demi-glace sauce, which added a tangy kick to each bite.
Ambience at Tsuzuku
We arrived at Berseh Food Centre on a Wednesday morning, approximately 10 minutes before Tsuzuku’s scheduled opening time at 11am. Despite arriving early, there was already a short queue forming in front of the store, which still had its shutters closed. We found ourselves fifth in line, and had to wait approximately 15 minutes to place our order. By that time, the queue had doubled in length from when we first arrived.
Mayu politely informed us that our dishes would take around 20 minutes to be ready. Considering that everything is freshly prepared upon ordering, and that there are only two people manning the stall, the wait was understandable. Do note that they currently only accept payments through PayNow.
Although the food centre was packed during our visit, there were plenty of seats to accommodate the bustling lunch crowd. The area also appeared to be popular among older patrons, with many curious aunties and uncles observing us as we conducted our shoot.
Tsuzuku is a five-minute walk from Jalan Besar MRT Station.
Despite the few minor misses we experienced here, I would still recommend it to fans of tonkatsu and Japanese curry. I appreciate Mayu and Daniel’s commitment to dishing out generously portioned, legit Japanese fare in a hawker setting. While the food here may be pricier than your typical hawker meal, I believe that the taste and quality of their food justify its cost. It’s also worth taking into account the long waiting times, so you may want to head down earlier to try their food, especially if you’re pressed for time.
Address: 166 Jalan Besar, #02-33, Berseh Food Centre, Singapore 208877
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 11am to 8pm
Tel: 8042 5542
Tsuzuku is not a halal-certified eatery.
Photos taken by Melvin Mak.
This was an independent review by Eatbook.sg