Japanese Food: What Is Tonkatsu?

Tonkatsu is a Japanese food classic that features breaded and deep-fried pork

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Tonkatsu is often served as a full meal with Japanese sides like miso soup and rice.

Tonkatsu is a Japanese food dish that features breaded and deep-fried pork. Tonkatsu is served as a personal meal with shredded cabbage as an accompaniment. It can also be served as a full meal with other Japanese foods including often miso soup and rice.  

Tonkatsu is also popular as a sandwich filling, and it is sometimes served as a Japanese curry.

There are two types of tonkatsu: the kind made from loin and the kind made from filet. When eating this Japanese food, many cooks use a thick sauce called tonkatsu sauce, also known as sōsu.

The history behind tonkatsu dates back to when the term was originally katsuretsu, and at the time was commonly made using beef. Eventually katsuretsu, which means cutlet, became known as katsu. Katsu is considered a type of yōshoku, which is a term that refers to Japanese food that has been influenced by European styles and cuisines. The term tonkatsu for pork cutlets came into common use during the 1930s. 

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