Last updated

Original Tonkatsu.jpg
Place of origin Japan
Region or state East Asia
Main ingredients Cutlet (pork fillet or loin), cabbage, miso soup

Tonkatsu (豚カツ, とんかつ or トンカツ, pronounced  [toŋkatsɯ] ; "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 two-to-three-centimeter-thick slices, coating them with panko (bread crumbs), frying them in oil, and then serving with tonkatsu sauce, rice, and vegetable salad (mainly cabbage). The two main types are fillet and loin. Tonkatsu is often served with shredded cabbage, or on a bed of rice (making it a donburi dish, called katsudon ).



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]

Preparation and serving

Katsu-sando (ja:katsusando), a tonkatsu sandwich, served as an ekiben KatsuSando6515.jpg
Katsu-sando (ja:カツサンド), a tonkatsu sandwich, served as an ekiben

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. [5]

Tonkatsu is generally served with shredded cabbage. [6] 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. [7]

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


Katsu curry Katsu curry by luckypines.jpg
Katsu curry
Katsudon and Soba Mini fillet cutlet donburi and kake soba at Fuji soba, Kichijoji (33266336996).jpg
Katsudon and Soba
Tonkatsu restaurant "jp:katsuya" in Tokyo, Japan Katsuya-Roppongi.jpg
Tonkatsu restaurant "jp:かつや" in Tokyo, Japan

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 speciality. [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.[ citation needed ]

Several variations of tonkatsu use alternatives to pork:

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

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A croquette (/kroʊˈkɛt/) is a small cylinder of food consisting of a thick binder combined with a filling, which is breaded and deep-fried, and served as a side dish, a snack, or fast food worldwide.

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Dongaseu Korean pork dish

Dongaseu is a Korean dish which consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet.


  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   978-0-8118-4832-9.
  4. Jennifer Ellen Robertson, ed. (2005). A companion to the anthropology of Japan. Wiley-Blackwell. p. 421. ISBN   0-631-22955-8.
  5. Tsuji, Shizuo; Fisher, M. F. K. (2007). Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art. Kodansha International. p. 240. ISBN   978-4-7700-3049-8.
  6. Hosking, Richard (1995). A Dictionary of Japanese Food - Ingredients and Culture. Tuttle. p. 159. ISBN   0-8048-2042-2.
  7. Ono, Tadashi; Salat, Harris (2013). Japanese Soul Cooking: Ramen, Tonkatsu, Tempura, and More from the Streets and Kitchens of Tokyo and Beyond. Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale. ISBN   9781607743538 . Retrieved 21 July 2020.
  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.