Photograph: Andy Parsons

Hype Dish: Tōu’s inimitable Iberian katsu sando

We find out what goes into the London plates that everyone bangs on about


A strong contender for London’s most famous sandwich, you’ve probably seen Tōu’s katsu sando even if you’ve never eaten it. The cult sando-maker started making waves as TāTā Eatery with a pop-up in Kensal Rise, before eventually opening a sando-centric street food spot at Arcade Food Theatre. We ask founders Ana Gonçalves and Zijun Meng to break down the inimitable Iberian katsu concoction you’ve seen all over your Instagram feed.

The bread

‘The choice of bread was important to us. It had to be very light, which is why we chose a cakey type of brioche. It looks nice and big, but it’s airy so it squashes down.’

The sauce

‘In the beginning, we used a fermented red pepper paste, but it took about three weeks to ferment.That’s when we came up with this shallot version of XO sauce.’

The precision

‘People love the ratio of it. We use a special measuring tool to cut the bread, so that every single slice is exactly the same. We measure the pork too.’

The flavours

‘On the other side to the XO sauce we add brown sauce. It’s always in a bacon sandwich, so we had to put it in. It can be overpowering, so we mellow it with raspberry jam.’

The pork

‘We use Iberico pork. Cheap pork belly wouldn’t be the same. The shape means we have lots of trimmings, so we use those to make sausages for our hot dog sando.’

Tōu at Arcade Food Theatre, 103-105 New Oxford St. Tube: Tottenham Court Rd. £14.

Now find out what goes into Gloria’s Incomparable Lemon Pie

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