Menchi Katsu: a deliciously crispy ground meat cutlet from Japan

by Sandy | Updated:  June 20, 2022

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Japanese menchi katsu is a ground meat cutlet that combines two types of tasty minced meat: ground beef and pork.

This Japanese patty is a crunchy delight when served with a dipping sauce on the side.

What is menchi katsu?

Menchi katsu is a popular Japanese dish made with ground pork that is breaded with panko and fried. It is often served with a tonkatsu sauce or a Worcestershire-based sauce.

The reason it’s called a cutlet is that it is shaped like pork cutlets, but this food is actually a deep-fried ground meat cutlet.

It is similar to hambagu, which is a Japanese-style hamburger. But, the flaky and crunchy panko breadcrumbs make menchi katsu extra special.

Basically, menchi katsu is a deep-fried golden brown hamburger patty that is savory and crunchy.

The name menchi katsu means “minced” (menchi) and cutlet “katsu”. In Kansai this dish is also called minchi katsu.

The reason why this minced meat dish is different from some others is that it’s also deep-fried. But it’s not surprising since Japanese people do love fried foods.

This dish isn’t traditional Japanese food. It’s actually a yoshoku, or Western-style Japanese food.

Learn how to make your own Menchi katsu here

Origin

There are several theories about the invention of menchi katsu. Of course, menchi katsu originated in Japan but it’s not clear when or where.

Some people say that this dish was created in the early Showa period in Osaka. This was a time when a lot of new Western-style restaurants were opening up.

Another theory is that it was created in the Kansai region as a Japanese-style croquette.

But the most probable theory is that it was created over 100 years ago in Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo in a Western-style (yoshoku) restaurant.

However, it became very popular in the Kansai region and there the name was changed to minchi katsu.

The menchi or minchi is based on the Western “meatball”. The name menchi is also a wordplay on the word “mince” and sounds a bit similar.

Similar other Asian dishes

If you like menchi katsu, then you might also enjoy some other Asian dishes that are similar.

One of the most similar dishes is katsu curry from Japan. It is a curry rice dish that is made with a tonkatsu, or pork cutlet, as the main protein.

Tonkatsu pork cutlets are usually breaded and fried, so they have a similar taste and texture to menchi katsu.

Also, chicken katsu is a popular dish in Hawaii that is made with chicken cutlets.

There’s also the korroke which is a Japanese croquette. It’s made with potato and meat, often ground beef.

Then there’s the American-style hambagu, which is a hamburger patty that is often served with demi-glace sauce.

There’s even a baked version of menchi katsu for people who can’t or don’t eat deep-fried food.

Ever had trouble finding Japanese recipes that were easy to make?

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