Since my work week is a bit different than most (I work Wednesday to Saturday), Fridays aren't that exciting to me anymore. Unlike Rebecca Black circa 2011, I can't "get down on Friday" or "look forward to the weekend" since I have work the very next day. To cheer myself up, I'm thinking Fridays should be rebranded as Fry-day.  Yes? No?

Well, recently I had Friday off, and my dad and I decided to check out Nara Chicken & Tonkatsu for lunch after running a few errands. Located somewhat close to Ichiban and Bon Ton Bakery, Nara occupies the rightmost space in an unassuming west-end strip mall. It's a casual neighbourhood eatery that basically specializes in two deep-fried meats: Korean fried chicken and Japanese tonkatsu. 

When you enter through the automatic sliding door, the takeout counter is the first thing you will see. The restaurant seems geared towards takeout business but there's also an option to eat in. We were able to choose any table we wanted since there was only one other group there before noon. It's a very casual setup with red checkerboard tablecloths and K-pop playing on TVs overhead. 

Nara's menu is a simple three-pager. Appetizers actually appear on the back side of the menu and consist of simple side dishes such as dumplings, french fries, and kimchi. Their fried chicken can be ordered in half or whole quantities, in flavours such as original, seasoned (yangnyeom), soy garlic, and spicy. Katsu options consist of pork sirloin, tenderloin, pizza (pork stuffed with cheese), curry tonkatsu, and chicken katsu. They also have hansik ("Korean food"), simple homestyle dishes like bulgogi and bibimbap.  

Since the restaurant is aptly named after chicken and tonkatsu, we ordered those signature items to try. The Nara tenderloin tonkatsu ($14.99) comes with two pieces of deep fried pork tenderloin, Nara special sauce, pickled cabbage, and a choice of rice or french fries. (I suggest getting the rice to avoid heart palpitations.)

Nara's tonkatsu is probably the best version of tonkatsu you can find in Edmonton. Too many times I've ordered tonkatsu in restaurants and been disappointed with dry breading and razor thin meat. Not here. The panko breading has actual layers of crunch and the meat is tender and moist. The pickled cabbage is more of a sesame cabbage slaw, which helps to cut the grease and freshen things up. The Nara special sauce also seems to be housemade, tasting slightly different than the typical tonkatsu sauce you can find in Asian supermarkets. It has a similar Worcestershire flavour, but tastes slightly fruitier with a grainy texture.

We also shared a half order of the Nara soy garlic chicken ($14.99) which came with six pieces in a basket. A pretty respectable Korean fried chicken but not the best or crispiest KFC I've had. My dad thought there was almost too much sauce so it might be a good idea to order the sauce on the side next time.

It's definitely not health food but it's worth clogging your arteries at Nara on Fry-day. Or any day of the week for that matter. Except Sundays. They're closed Sundays.

Nara Chicken & Tonkatsu
8712 150 Street NW
Edmonton, AB
(780) 540-0088 

Nara Chicken & Tonkatsu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

- CT


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CT is a 20-something Edmontonian who started blogging as an excuse for taking pictures of her food.

"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - Virginia Woolf