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Katsu: The Delicious Crispy Cutlets From Japan

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  August 16, 2022

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Katsu refers to any kind of meat cutlet with many different varieties. Tonkatsu is a pork cutlet, for example, and they usually have a crispy breaded exterior and juicy interior.

Katsu means “cutlet”, so this dish refers to any type of meat, or seafood, that been cut, breaded, and fried. There even is a Menchikatsu, minced meat, so the term cutlet is used loosely here.

Katsu

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Types of katsu

Let’s look at the types of katsu there are and their Japanese names:

Tonkatsu (豚カツ) – pork cutlet

Tonkatsu is a pork cutlet that is usually breaded and fried. The pork is usually quite tender and juicy, and the breading adds a delicious crispy crust. It’s a popular dish in Japan and can be served with rice and various dipping sauces.

Torikatsu (チキンカツ) – chicken cutlet

Torikatsu is a chicken cutlet, and like tonkatsu, it is breaded and fried. Chicken katsu is usually less fatty than pork katsu so it can be a healthier option. It’s also a popular dish in Japan and can be served with rice and dipping sauces.

Menchikatsu (メンチカツ) – minced meat

Menchikatsu is a minced meat cutlet usually made with beef or pork. The meat is minced and then formed into a patty, breaded, and fried.

Gyukatsu (牛かつ) – steak

Gyukatsu is a steak cutlet and is usually made with beef. The steak is breaded and fried and can be served with rice and dipping sauces.

Salmon katsu (パリパリ鮭) – Salmon

Salmon katsu is a salmon cutlet usually made with wild-caught salmon. The salmon is breaded and fried and placed on a bed of cabbage, like the other katsu variants.

Kare katsu (唐揚げカツ) – curry

Kare katsu is a curry cutlet and is made by coating the cutlet in a thick layer of Japanese curry powder. The cutlet is then breaded and fried. Kare katsu is usually served with rice and a side of pickled vegetables.

Katsu Sando (カツサンド) – crispy pork sandwich

Katsu Sando is a pork cutlet sandwich made by sandwiching a tonkatsu cutlet between two slices of white bread. The sandwich is then dipped in a katsu sauce or served with a side of katsu sauce for dipping.

What does katsu taste like?

Katsu typically has a crispy breaded exterior and a juicy interior. The meat is usually quite tender, and the flavor of the katsu sauce or other dipping sauces can add a lot of depth to the dish.

How do you eat katsu?

Katsu is typically served with rice and a side of vegetables. It can be eaten with a fork and knife, or you can use your hands.

Katsu is also often served with various dipping sauces, such as tonkatsu sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or soy sauce.

What’s the origin of katsu?

Katsu is thought to have originated in Japan in the late 19th century and was inspired by Western dishes such as pork chops and schnitzel.

The dish quickly became popular in Japan and has since spread to other countries in Asia.

What’s the difference between katsu and tonkatsu?

Tonkatsu is a type of katsu and refers to a pork (ton) cutlet (katsu). Katsu can refer to any type of meat or seafood cutlet, while tonkatsu specifically refers to pork.

There are many different ways to enjoy katsu, but here are some popular combinations:

  • Katsu with rice and vegetables
  • Katsu with noodles
  • Katsu curry
  • Katsu Sando

Where to eat katsu?

Katsu is a popular dish in Japan and can be found at most Japanese restaurants. It’s also becoming increasingly popular in other countries, so you may be able to find it at Asian restaurants outside of Japan.

There are many popular Japanese katsu restaurants, but some of the most well-known include:

Tonkatsu Wako

Tonkatsu Wako is a popular Japanese restaurant that specializes in tonkatsu. The restaurant has been around for over 50 years, and is known for its delicious and authentic katsu dishes.

Tonkatsu Wako is a must-go for anyone who loves katsu, and the restaurant often has long lines of people waiting to get in.

Maisen

Maisen is another popular Japanese katsu restaurant known for its delicious breaded pork cutlets. The restaurant has a wide variety of katsu dishes to choose from and also offers a vegan katsu option for those who don’t eat meat.

Maisen is a popular spot for locals and tourists and often has long lines on weekends and holidays.

Katsuya

Katsuya is a Japanese chain restaurant that specializes in katsu. The restaurant offers a wide variety of katsu dishes, as well as other Japanese favorites such as sushi and tempura.

Katsuya is a great option for those looking for a delicious and affordable katsu meal.

These restaurants serve up some of the best katsu in Japan and are always crowded with diners. If you’re looking for a delicious and satisfying meal, check out one of these popular katsu restaurants.

Conclusion

Katsu is a delicious and versatile dish that can be enjoyed in many different ways. Whether you prefer chicken, salmon, or beef, there’s a katsu dish for everyone.

So why not give it a try? You might just find your new favorite meal.

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Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.