Yabu has definitely stuck on me as the go-to place for Katsu in Manila. They first opened in November of 2011 at the Mega Atrium, SM Megamall and has since expanded to six outlets with another opening soon.
The menu and cooking process was developed by Chef Kazuya Takeda. Kazuya is the head chef of Tonkatsu Takeshin, a popular tonkatsu shop in Tokyo, Japan.
Yabu starts with thick cuts of premium meat to ensure the best quality. They coat it with fresh flaky Panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) breading made daily. They then fry it at 165-degrees celsius in 100% Canola oil to maintain tender and juicy meat inside while having a crispy and non-greasy breading that is cooked to a bright and golden color.
The menu now offers additional variants of Katsu dishes as well as a change of their local ‘Rosu’ (pork loin) cut to imported US pork for more tender meat and better flavor. Japanese Kurobuta pork is also available at a premium for extra flavor and tenderness, but normal variants are already just as good. Popular choices also include curry, which is also a personal favorite of mine, but only on cooler days. For those who do not like pork, they also have chicken and seafood options.
The Rosu (pork loin) or Hire (tenderloin) sets still offer the best value. They come with unlimited servings of steamed rice, shredded cabbage, miso soup, Japanese pickles and fruits. My personal favorite is the Rosu, (and currently allowed serving) in 90g set costs PhP315.