Oahu, these are the chicken katsu sandwiches you need right now

Four crispy newcomers from a farmers market stand, a katsu restaurant, an udon shop and a ubiquitous local diner

Fried chicken sandwiches are so 2019. But chicken katsu sammies? That’s a game-changer. Imagine: Katsu that’s crispy on the outside and thiccc and juicy inside, paired with sweet-and-tangy katsu sauce and griddled burger buns or ultra soft Japanese white bread. We’re so there.

In no time we sank our teeth into these four relative newcomers to Oahu’s chicken katsu sandwich scene.

See also: Best chicken katsu: Our Top 5

Katsu Sando 808

— Photo by Thomas Obungen

Where: Kakaako Farmers Market at Ward Village, 1050 Ala Moana Blvd.
Hours: Saturdays 8 a.m. to 12 noon
How to order: Pre-order by emailing katsusando808@gmail.com or text 702-338-3896
Cost: $9
Each sandwich receives a heap of shredded cabbage and a slick of spicy mayo sauce; thick and fluffy milk bread from Makiki’s Epi-ya bake shop holds it all together. Katsu Sando 808 uses chicken thighs. The results are surprisingly juicy and tender, and when combined with that spicy mayo, make it the winner in my book. — Thomas

See also: Farmers market finds: Katsu sandwiches at Kakaako

Koromo Katsu and Curry Bistro

Chicken katsu sando, $9.50

Where: Pearlridge Center, Wai Makai, 98-1005 Moanalua Rd.
Hours: Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Sun 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
How to order: Call 468-1919 or order online at koromohawaii.com
Cost: $9.50
Katsu sandos are new to the Koromo menu. Choose between pork loin, oyster po-boy or chicken katsu made with locally sourced thigh meat. The result: A light, crunchy exterior and unctuous interior. The sando is messy to eat, but each meaty mouthful of shredded cabbage, juicy katsu, crisp pickles and spicy Koromo sauce prove the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. — Kelli

See also: Chicken is the star at Pearlridge’s new tonkatsu curry joint

Marukame Udon

Where: 2310 Kuhio Ave., Waikiki, 931-6000
Hours: Daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
How to order: Online or call 931-6000 for takeout or dine in
Cost: $7.95
Marukame expanded its menu recently to include non-noodle dishes like this sandwich of chicken katsu, creamy mayo sauce, tonkatsu sauce, lemon aioli and coleslaw on lightly toasted Japanese milk bread. The katsu is thinner than the others on this list, but still tender and juicy. The coleslaw — a sweeter medley of apples, cabbage and onions — complements the savory katsu perfectly. Together with the three sauces, it makes for probably the wettest sandwich here, but the katsu is still crunchy when I get home to central Oahu. When you go, get extra of that tangy tonkatsu sauce. — Kelli


— Photo by Thomas Obungen

Where: All Zippy’s restaurants
Hours: Vary by location
Cost: Around $5.50; varies by location
This katsu sandwich debuted earlier this summer and has a more local feel. The one big piece of chicken katsu is cut in half so it looks like a double chicken sandwich. Underneath, there’s shredded lettuce, katsu mayo and a spicy mustard sauce. It’s crisp and crunchy, juicy … and whoa, there’s the hot mustard. The sauce is not apparent on the first bite, since the sandwich is a little light on sauce, but I really like the sauce. — Thomas

See also: Heading back to Zippy’s? Here’s what it’s like to eat in now