Costco EastWest Cuisine Chicken Katsu Review
It’s Chicken Katsu night in the CFDB household. Is Costco’s EastWest Cuisine Chicken Katsu worth the money?
Chicken Katsu at Costco
EastWest Cuisine’s Chicken Katsu sells at Costco for $5.79 a pound. My package was 2.5 lbs and cost $14.53. These are found in Costco’s refrigerated deli section next to the pesto, gyro, pork buns, or other prepared meals.
For those that don’t know, chicken katsu is a panko breaded chicken cutlet that is usually served with a sauce and over a bed of rice. It is pretty common to find chicken katsu in Hawaiian or Japanese restaurants. I personally love chicken katsu, growing up, it was always one of the cheaper options at the Hawaiian spot near my parents house and it was a great, delicious meal that would really fill me up.
This EastWest Cuisines product is an interesting one to me. With this product, you are getting all the ingredients needed to make your own chicken katsu and that is exactly what you will do. This chicken katsu doesn’t come out of the packaging ready to be heated. Instead you will have to do almost all of the work in preparing this meal. The chicken is pre-cooked by sous vide, and that is about it. Everything else that is included in this meal kit is just ingredients that will need to be assembled. This includes powdered egg, the breading, and the sauce.
I’ve made my own chicken katsu at home. It is time consuming, but not difficult by any means. If I am paying a premium at Costco, then I don’t want to have to do the work to prepare the meal. This is a meal kit, and not something you can buy to have a quick and easy dinner. This is similar to a box you would get from HelloFresh or the like.
My biggest concern with the chicken katsu product is the price. $5.79 a pound is definitely on the higher end for chicken. Costco sells chicken breast for $2.99 a pound, so this is nearly double that price for chicken, breading, and sauce. In my 2.5lb package, I received 1.5 lbs of chicken and about 1 pound combined of powdered egg, breading, and sauce. It is very hard to justify a nearly $15 price tag for 1.5 pounds of chicken that I have to assemble and cook myself.
I knew all this before I made the purchase, but I still am disappointed with even the idea of this product.
ASSEMBLING THE Costco CHICKEN KATSU
The chicken is supposed to come pre-sliced. I received a large chicken breast that allegedly was sliced. From reading the directions, it did say you would have to use your hands or tongs to carefully find the sliced edge on the side of the chicken breast. I must have missed it, because I did not see it all on my chicken. I did pull some pieces apart, but then cut the rest into little chicken slices.
Looking back at my photos, the pieces that I did pull apart, might have been the intended slices. I was picturing the finished chicken katsu product in my mind which are slicked pieces about 1 inch wide. But generally from what I’ve seen in restaurants, chicken katsu is fried as a larger piece and sliced right before serving. There was some potential user error here, but I won’t let it affect the taste review.
The breading process was typical. The powdered egg had to be mixed with water, and if it weren’t for this review, I would have just used my own egg. The breading itself did not look great either. Honestly, it reminded me of slightly wet sand that clumped together. It did not look anything like the panko breading that it claimed to be. I’ve discussed panko breading in my chicken nugget review, and those nuggets blow these panko sand clumps out of the water.
Costco sells pork schnitzel that also has to be breaded. Annoying!
This EastWest Cuisine product lists two cooking methods for this chicken katsu, which are the Recommended pan saute and an option to cook these in the air fryer.
With the pan saute option, you will be using a little bit of cooking oil and quickly frying these chicken cutlet pieces. The chicken is already cooked, so all you need to do is brown the breading and by doing so you will heat the chicken to an acceptable eating temperature.
I cooked the majority of the Costco chicken katsu using the pan saute method that I often use for Costco chicken nuggets. Usually if you add oil to a product it’s going to taste better, and I wanted to give these every opportunity to do well. I think I overcooked them a little bit, but the breading was crispy and the chicken was fine.
The second method is air fryer. The recommendation called for about 9 minutes in the air fryer at 380°. I followed the directions perfectly, spraying oil at 5 mins in and then flipping and spraying with more oil. The finished chicken katsu looked like oven baked chicken breading. It was whiter in color with splotches of dark brown. The pan saute is the way to go if you want to try this chicken katsu.
I’m not a fan of the price, I hate the idea that I have to bread the chicken myself, and at the end of it all I didn’t care for the actual chicken katsu much. Some of my pieces were a little dried out, possible due to me cutting the wrong shape for the chicken. Aside from the dryness, the chicken katsu didn’t have much flavor. I plated it with rice, but I couldn’t eat the chicken alone, it had to be dipped in the sauce. There wasn’t a lot of flavor in the “seasoned” slices of chicken breast, and it definitely wasn’t worth the work to get these on my dinner plate. You are much better off purchasing the necessary ingredients either from Costco or elsewhere and making your own version of chicken katsu.
The sauce also didn’t do it for me. It was a little sweet but the taste was off. While not listed in the ingredients, it had a very oyster sauce type of taste. I ended up using it all, but only because the chicken katsu really needed it.
This item completely missed the mark. It was way overpriced and if I’m paying a premium, I want a taste I can’t easily create at home or a super convenient quality meal. This is neither of those things, and not worth the work or the effort to make this chicken katsu.
If I had the Just Bare Chicken Nuggets with a store bought katsu sauce, I would have had a tastier chicken katsu experience than this. Next time you are in Costco and you see this product, go east, go west, go anywhere to get away from EastWest Cuisine’s Chicken Katsu.