Tonkatsu (豚カツ, とんかつ or トンカツ, pronounced [toŋꜜkatsɯ]; "pork cutlet") is a Japanese dish that consists of a breaded, deep-fried/tempura pork cutlet. It involves cutting the pig's back center into 2-3 centimeter thick slices, coating with panko (bread crumbs), frying them in oil, and then serving with Japanese Worcestershire sauce, rice, and vegetable salad (mainly cabbage). The two main types are fillet and loin. Tonkatsu is often served with shredded cabbage.

Original Tonkatsu
Place of originJapan
Main ingredientsCutlet (pork fillet or loin), cabbage, miso soup


The word tonkatsu is a combination of the Sino-Japanese word ton () meaning "pig" and katsu (カツ), which is a shortened form of katsuretsu (カツレツ), the transliteration of the English word cutlet, which again derived from French côtelette, meaning "meat chop".


Tonkatsu originated in Japan in the 19th century. Early katsuretsu was usually beef; the pork version was invented in Japan in 1899 at a restaurant called Rengatei in Tokyo.[1][2][3] It was originally considered a type of yōshoku — Japanese versions of European cuisine invented in the late 19th and early 20th centuries—and was called katsuretsu or simply katsu.[4]

It was called 'Pork katsuretsu,' 'Porky katsuretsu' and 'Tonkatsu' but the name 'Tonkatsu' was only used after 1959.[5]

Preparation and serving

Either a pork fillet (ヒレ hire) or pork loin (ロース rōsu) cut may be used; the meat is usually salted, peppered, dredged lightly in flour, dipped into beaten egg and then coated with panko (bread crumbs) before being deep fried.[6]

Tonkatsu is generally served with shredded cabbage.[7] It is most commonly eaten with a type of thick brown sauce called tonkatsu sauce or simply sōsu (sauce), karashi (mustard), and perhaps a slice of lemon. It is usually served with rice, miso soup and tsukemono and eaten with chopsticks. It may also be served with ponzu and grated daikon instead of tonkatsu sauce.

In addition to being served as a single dish, it is used as a sandwich filling or in combination with curry.


Katsu curry by luckypines
Katsu curry
Restaurant location

Tonkatsu is also popular as a sandwich filling (katsu sando) or served on Japanese curry (katsu karē). Tonkatsu is sometimes served with egg on a big bowl of rice as katsudon.

In Nagoya and surrounding areas, miso katsu, tonkatsu eaten with a hatchō miso-based sauce, is a specialty.[8]

Variations on tonkatsu may be made by sandwiching an ingredient such as cheese or shiso leaf between the meat, and then breading and frying. For the calorie conscious, konnyaku is sometimes sandwiched in the meat.

Several variations of tonkatsu use alternatives to pork:

  • Chicken katsu (チキンカツ) or Tori katsu (鶏カツ), which uses chicken instead, often appears in Hawaiian plate lunches.
  • Menchi-katsu (メンチカツ) or minchi katsu (ミンチカツ mince katsu), is a minced meat patty, breaded and deep fried.
  • Hamu katsu (ハムカツ ham katsu), a similar dish made from ham, is usually considered a budget alternative to tonkatsu.
  • Gyū katsu (牛カツ beef katsu), also known as bīfu katsu, is popular in the Kansai region around Osaka and Kobe.

A similar dish with ingredients other than pork, beef, or chicken is called furai (fry), not katsu (cutlet), such as aji-furai (fried horse mackerel) and ebi-furai (fried prawn).[9]

See also


  1. ^ 岡田, 哲. とんかつの誕生―明治洋食事始め. p. 166.
  2. ^ 小菅, 桂子. にっぽん洋食物語大全. p. 122.
  3. ^ Kaneko, Amy (2007). Let's Cook Japanese Food!: Everyday Recipes for Home Cooking. Chronicle Books. p. 101. ISBN 0-8118-4832-9.
  4. ^ Jennifer Ellen Robertson, ed. (2005). A companion to the anthropology of Japan. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 421. ISBN 0-631-22955-8.
  5. ^ 오카다 데쓰. 2006. pp. 217–218.
  6. ^ Tsuji, Shizuo; Fisher, M. F. K. (2007). Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art. Kodansha International. p. 240. ISBN 4-7700-3049-5.
  7. ^ Hosking, Richard (1995). A Dictionary of Japanese Food - Ingredients and Culture. Tuttle. p. 159. ISBN 0-8048-2042-2.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Katsu" (in Japanese). Dictionary of etymology. Difference between katsu and furai}} is not defined explicitly; however, cuisine made of fish or vegetables are not called katsu}} but called furai}}. }}
Bread crumbs

Bread crumbs or breadcrumbs (regional variants: breading, crispies) are sliced residue of dry bread, used for breading or crumbing foods, topping casseroles, stuffing poultry, thickening stews, adding inexpensive bulk to soups, meatloaves and similar foods, and making a crisp and crunchy covering for fried foods, especially breaded cutlets like tonkatsu and schnitzel. The Japanese variety of bread crumbs is called panko.

Breaded cutlet

Breaded cutlet is a dish made from coating a cutlet of meat with breading or batter and either frying or baking it. Breaded cutlet is known as schnitzel in German-speaking countries, cotoletta in Italy, escalope in France, filete empanado in Spain, filete empanizado in Cuba, milanesa in Latin America, katsu in Japan and Korea, and kotlet in Poland.

Chicken katsu

Chicken katsu (chicken cutlet (Japanese: チキンカツ, Hepburn: chikinkatsu)), also known as panko chicken, or tori katsu (torikatsu (鶏カツ)) is a Japanese dish which is also popular in Australia, Hawaii, London, California, Aylesford and other areas of the world.Chicken katsu is generally served with tonkatsu sauce (とんかつソース), a thick Japanese vegetarian pureed fruit-based brown sauce, or a well-seasoned ketchup, as a Hawaiian mixed plate lunch meal. It is generally served with shredded cabbage, rice and/or miso soup as part of a two or three item combo, or as a dinner with rice and vegetables.

In Hawaii, chicken katsu is as common as tonkatsu (pork cutlets). It is also served in place of tonkatsu in katsu curry and katsudon in local plate-lunch restaurants and in fine-dining Japanese establishments alike.


Japadog is a small chain of street food stands and restaurants located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada (there was also a location in New York City which closed in 2013). The chain, which specializes in hot dogs that include variants of Japanese-style foods like okonomiyaki, yakisoba, teriyaki and tonkatsu, is owned by Noriki Tamura.

Japanese cuisine

Japanese cuisine encompasses the regional and traditional foods of Japan, which have developed through centuries of political, economic, and social changes. The traditional cuisine of Japan, Washoku (和食, lit. "[traditional] Japanese cuisine") (or Kappō (割烹, lit. "culinary arts")), is based on rice with miso soup and other dishes; there is an emphasis on seasonal ingredients. Side dishes often consist of fish, pickled vegetables, and vegetables cooked in broth. Seafood is common, often grilled, but also served raw as sashimi or in sushi. Seafood and vegetables are also deep-fried in a light batter, as tempura. Apart from rice, staples include noodles, such as soba and udon. Japan also has many simmered dishes such as fish products in broth called oden, or beef in sukiyaki and nikujaga.

Historically influenced by Chinese cuisine, Japanese cuisine has opened up to influence from Western cuisines in the modern era. Dishes inspired by foreign food—in particular Chinese food—like ramen and gyōza, as well as foods like spaghetti, curry, and hamburgers have become adopted with variants for Japanese tastes and ingredients. Traditionally, the Japanese shunned meat due to Buddhism, but with the modernization of Japan in the 1880s, meat-based dishes such as tonkatsu and yakiniku have become common. Japanese cuisine, particularly sushi, has become popular throughout the world.

In 2011, Japan overtook France to become the country with the most 3-starred Michelin restaurants; as of 2018, the capital Tokyo has maintained the title of the city with the most 3-starred restaurants in the world.

Japanese curry

Japanese curry (カレー, karē) is one of the most popular dishes in Japan. It is commonly served in three main forms: curry rice (カレーライス, karē raisu, curry over rice), curry udon (curry over noodles), and curry bread (a curry-filled pastry). The very common "curry rice" is most commonly referred to simply as "curry" (カレー, karē).

Along with the sauce, a wide variety of vegetables and meats are used to make Japanese curry. The basic vegetables are onions, carrots, and potatoes. Beef, pork, and chicken are the most popular meat choices. Katsu-karē is a breaded deep-fried cutlet (tonkatsu; usually pork, or chicken) with Japanese curry sauce.


Karashi (芥子, 辛子, からし, or カラシ) is a type of mustard used as a condiment or as a seasoning in Japanese cuisine. Karashi is made from the crushed seeds of Brassica juncea and is usually sold in either powder or paste form. Karashi in powder form is prepared by mixing with lukewarm water to a paste and leaving it covered for a few minutes.Karashi is often served with tonkatsu, oden, nattō, and shumai. It can be used as part of a dipping sauce when mixed with mayonnaise, called karashi mayonnaise or with vinegar and miso, called karashi su miso.It is also used to make pickled Japanese eggplant, called karashi-nasu.One of Kumamoto's best-known meibutsu is karashi renkon: lotus root stuffed with karashi-flavoured miso, deep fried, and served in slices.


Katsudon (カツ丼) is a popular Japanese food, a bowl of rice topped with a deep-fried pork cutlet,

egg, vegetables, and condiments.

The dish takes its name from the Japanese words tonkatsu (for pork cutlet) and donburi (for rice bowl dish).

It has become a modern tradition for Japanese students to eat katsudon the night before taking a major test or school entrance exam. This is because "katsu" is a homophone of the verb 勝つ katsu, meaning "to win" or "to be victorious". It is also a famous gag of Japanese police films: many people think that suspects will speak the truth with tears when they have eaten katsudon and are asked, "Did you ever think about how your mother feels about this?" Even nowadays, the gag of "We must eat katsudon while interrogating" is popular in Japanese films.


Katsukarē (カツカレー) is a Japanese dish consisting of a pork cutlet (tonkatsu) served with a portion of Japanese rice and curry. It is served in a large plate and is typically eaten using a spoon or fork. The cutlet is usually precut into strips, eliminating the need for a knife.

Generally eaten as a main course, the dish can be accompanied with water or miso soup. In Japan, there are fast-food restaurant chains which specialize in serving katsukarē, with varying meats and types of curry.

List of Japanese dishes

Below is a list of dishes found in Japanese cuisine. Apart from rice, staples in Japanese cuisine include noodles, such as soba and udon. Japan has many simmered dishes such as fish products in broth called oden, or beef in sukiyaki and nikujaga. Foreign food, in particular Chinese food in the form of noodles in soup called ramen and fried dumplings, gyoza, and western food such as curry and hamburger steaks are commonly found in Japan. Historically, the Japanese shunned meat, but with the modernization of Japan in the 1860s, meat-based dishes such as tonkatsu became more common.


Menchi-katsu (メンチカツ) is a Japanese breaded and deep-fried ground meat patty; a fried meat cake. The meat is usually ground beef, pork, or a mixture of the two. It is often served in inexpensive bento and teishoku.

The ground meat is mixed with chopped onion, salt, and pepper, and made into patties. Flour is applied on both sides of these patties. They are coated with beaten eggs, further coated with bread crumbs, and deep fried until golden brown. The bread crumbs, called panko, are specially dehydrated and have a coarser texture than other bread crumbs. Katsu are usually served with Japanese Worcestershire sauce or tonkatsu sauce (a variant of Worcestershire thickened with fruit and vegetable purees) and sliced cabbage.

Menchi and katsu are phonologically modified versions of the words "mince" and "cutlet". Katsu may refer to any deep-fried meat cutlet coated with flour, egg, and bread crumbs. It is an example of yōshoku, or foods adapted from western cuisine. Katsu by itself usually refers to tonkatsu, which is made with pork cutlets.

While menchi-katsu is used prevalently in eastern Japan, in western Japan it is more commonly called minchi-katsu (ミンチカツ).

Pork cutlet

Pork cutlet may refer to:

Tonkatsu, a Japanese breaded pork cutlet

Kotlet schabowy, a Polish breaded pork cutlet

Pork shogayaki

Pork Shogayaki (豚の生姜焼き; buta no shogayaki) is a dish in Japanese cuisine. Shōga (生姜) means ginger, and yaki (焼き) means grill or fry. It can also be made with beef, but the pork version is so much more popular that the term "shogayaki" generally refers only to pork in Japan. It is the second most popular Japanese pork dish after tonkatsu.It consists of thin slices of lean pork, browned in the pan, and then briefly braised in a sauce of grated ginger, soy sauce and mirin. Grated onion and garlic can be added for the extra zest, and additional sugar is sometimes used to round out the taste.

Shogayaki is a common addition to bento boxes, as it can be eaten cold. However, it is more commonly served hot with rice and shredded cabbage.

Ringer Hut

Ringer Hut (リンガーハット) is a Japanese chain of fast-food restaurants, specializing in Nagasaki dishes Champon and Sara udon. The Hamakatsu Co. of Nagasaki, founders of the chain in 1974, borrowed the name of the former Ringer House which had been purchased by Nagasaki City and opened as a tourist attraction in 1966. It is likely that the company borrowed the word "hut" from "Pizza Hut." Ringer Hut operates over 550 restaurants in Japan, Taiwan, and San Jose, California along with 100 Hamakatsu Restaurants (tonkatsu restaurant chain). Ringer Hut has two headquarters located in Fukuoka and Tokyo.


A schnitzel is meat, usually thinned by pounding with a meat tenderizer, that is fried in some kind of oil or fat. The term is most commonly used to refer to meats coated with flour, beaten eggs, and bread crumbs, and then fried, but some variants such as Walliser Schnitzel are not breaded. Originating in Austria, the breaded schnitzel is popular in many countries and made using either chicken, veal, mutton, beef, turkey, or pork. It is very similar to the dish escalope in France, tonkatsu in Japan, and the milanesa of Italy, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil.

Sumikko Gurashi

Sumikko Gurashi (すみっコぐらし Sumikko Gurashi) is a set of fictional characters produced by the Japanese company San-X. The name roughly translates to “life in the corner”. The main Sumikko characters are Shirokuma, a polar bear who dislikes the cold, Penguin? who is unsure of being a penguin, Tonkatsu, a piece of leftover pork cutlet, Neko, a timid and anxious cat, and Tokage, a dinosaur who pretends to be a lizard. Minor Minniko characters include Furoshiki, a polka dot furoshiki cloth, Zassou, a weed with a positive attitude, and Tapioca, multi-colored leftover tapioca pearls. The characters were created by Yuri Yokomizo, a graphic designer working for San-X, and the first products were released in 2012. Their main inspiration was the feeling of comfort when one is near a corner, and they were based on Yokomizo's notebook doodles when she was a student. A wealth of merchandise, such as stationery, plush toys, and clothing, is sold. There are also books, mobile apps and games on Nintendo 3DS and Nintendo Switch. An animated film is set to be released in 2019.

Tonkatsu DJ Agetarō

Tonkatsu DJ Agetarō (とんかつDJアゲ太郎) is a Japanese manga series written by Iipyao and illustrated by Yūjirō Koyama. It has been serialized online via Shueisha's digital publication Shonen Jump+ since November 2014, and is also serialized in Shueisha's fashion magazine Men's Non-no. It has been collected in ten tankōbon volumes. A 12-episode anime television series adaptation directed by Akitaro Daichi and animated at Studio Deen aired between April 10 and June 26, 2016.

Tonkatsu sauce

Tonkatsu sauce is a thick sauce served with tonkatsu, the Japanese pork cutlet. It is a thick (viscosity over 2.0 pascal-second, per JAS standard) Japanese Worcestershire-type sauce. As with most Japanese Worcestershire sauces, it is vegetarian and similar to a brown sauce, with tomatoes, prunes, dates, apples, lemon juice, carrots, onions, and celery among its ingredients.The first Tonkatsu sauce was made in 1948 by Oliver Sauce Co., Ltd. of Hyogo Prefecture. While generally similar to a traditional brown sauce, it is vegetarian. The Bull-Dog brand of tonkatsu sauce, for example, is made from malt vinegar, yeast, and vegetable and fruit purees, pastes, and extracts.Currently, The most popular packaged condiment in eastern Japan is Bull-Dog sauce Co., Ltd products. Bull-Dog brand, created in 1935 and still made today by Bull-Dog Sauce Co., Ltd., Hatogaya, Japan, inventor of tonkatsu sauce.

Worcestershire sauce

Worcestershire ( WUUS-tər-shər) or Worcester sauce ( (listen) WUUS-tər -⁠) is a fermented liquid condiment created in the city of Worcester in Worcestershire, England, in the first half of the 19th century. The creators were the chemists John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, who went on to form the company Lea & Perrins. Worcestershire sauce has been considered a generic term since 1876, when the English High Court of Justice ruled that Lea & Perrins did not own the trademark to "Worcestershire".Worcestershire sauce is frequently used to enhance food and drink recipes, including Welsh rarebit, Caesar salad, Oysters Kirkpatrick, and deviled eggs. As both a background flavour and a source of umami (the savoury fifth flavour), it is now also added to dishes that historically did not contain it, such as chili con carne and beef stew. It is also used directly as a condiment on steaks, hamburgers, and other finished dishes, and to flavour cocktails such as the Bloody Mary and Caesar.



This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.