OK, what's with panko? I have a big bag of it and use it from time to time, but what IS it? How come it's so different from other bread crumbs? What gives it that panko-y flavor and crunch? When did it start showing up all over?
I had to start taking this seriously about three weeks ago when my local very Mexican lunch spot, down here in this tiny town, served me shrimp breaded in *gimmeabreak* panko. The cook waggled his eyebrows knowingly at me when he said, "¿Le gusta el panko?" ('You like the panko?') If it's in this restaurant, it's everywhere.
Speak to me, chowhounds.