Myeongdong Donkasu’s Lunch Specials Give Wako a Run For its Money


If you are super fan of the Japanese fried meat cutlets known as tonkatsu (and quite frankly, how could you not be?) then you likely have discovered that one of the best versions in the city can be found not in the South Bay or on Sawtelle or in Little Tokyo, but in Koreatown, at a Korean/Japanese place called Wako Donkasu.  They’ve pretty much perfected the lunchtime katsu, but it doesn’t stop me from trying any new places that may pop now and again.  So when I saw this photo on Food GPS from the 6 month old Myeongdong Donkasu, I thought… don’t mind if I do!


Just like Wako, Myeongdong Donkasu is a Korean restaurant specializing in Japanese style katsu.  They have two kinds of pork (tenderloin and filet), chicken, shrimp, and fish, all of which are under $10.


They said the tenderloin was fattier than the filet, so we went with that (naturally). But don’t let that scare you off.  It wasn’t nearly as fatty as the katsu you’ll find at some other places.  In fact it wasn’t really that fatty at all.  And it’s not as big a portion as what you get at Wako either, but the truth is I’d rather keep the lunch under $10 and get a little bit less meat.  It was also very well fried, crispy on the outside and plenty moist on the inside.  Good stuff.


If you don’t have to order the pork, the best deal might be their medium combo.  (As a comparison, all the combos at Wako that include udon or soba are $13 and over.)


The soba is perfectly fine.


And you get all the requisite side dishes.  (Daikon kimchi, pickled jalapenos, rice and miso soup.)


And the chicken katsu?  Well, it was pretty damn good.  Once again it’s not a ton of meat (on the medium combo you only geta half portion), but it’s still a good amount of food.  And for the price?  It’s tough to complain. And if you want a full portion or you have to have the pork, you can spent the $13 for the large combo.


Surprisingly one of the best parts about the lunch might have been the sauces. Sadly, you don’t get to grind your own sesame seeds like you do at Wako, but fans of mustard should really like their katsu sauce. And they have a different sauce for the chicken that is unique and pretty delicious. Plus, the dressing they give you to put on your shredded cabbage is creamy, nutty, and waaay better than the generic dressing that you usually get on salads like this.  So good.

But wait… there’s more.


Not a good enough deal you? Every day they offer one of their meats as a super special, ultra cheap, lunch special. Same portion. Same everything. Just cheaper. $8 pork cutlet wednesday? Yes please.

Finally, Myeongdong Donkasu is in the same strip mall as Kobawoo- home to the best bossam lunch special in Koreatown.  But Kobawoo gets pretty packed at lunchtime, making Myeongdong the perfect back up option when the line for Kobawoo gets too long. But with lunch specials like these, it may not be long before they have lines of their own.

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • This place might be new, but their not novices.  The meats are fried very well, and perfectly moist inside.
  • Love Korean tonkatsu!  The kimchi, the pickled jalapenos, the dressing.  I never go to Japanese katsu places.
  • For good tonkatsu, you really can’t beat the prize (especially their daily $7 and $8 lunch specials)
  • That salad dressing is so damn good, they probably shouldn’t have left it on the table. I almost drank it.
  • This place is perfect for when Kobawoo is too damn busy!
  • I like that the portions aren’t too big.  I’d rather pay a little bit less, and get a little bit less.

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • Wako might be pricier, but it’s better.
  • I like my katsu breading to be… bigger.  (Does that make sense?)
  • Thanks to Kobawoo, the parking in that lot can be a nightmare.
  • I like grinding my own sesame seeds for the katsu sauce.
  • Portions are too small.  I’d rather pay more, and get more.

Myeongdong Donkasu, 698 S. Vermont Ave. 213-365-2200


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