Tonkatsu: A Japanese Foray into Western Food

Written by on July 11th, 2016 // Filed under Blog

Tonkatsu is a Japanese pork cutlet, breaded and deep fried. You can find Tonkatsu and other katsus at our Federal Way Japanese restaurant, as it represents a form of “fast food” style Japanese dining that has been particularly well received within the United States. This is hardly surprising, of course, because the tonkatsu may in fact be considered one of the older forms of Japanese/Western fusion.

Indeed, the first tonkatsu came about in Japan as a type of yoshoku, meaning a Japanese version of a European-style meal. The idea of “katsu” had existed long before Japan first established contact with the West, the deep-frying technique that made tonkatsu possible was only introduced sometime around 1890. This original tonkatsu is believed to be the invention of a small restaurant in Ginza that was well known for its European-inspired cooking. Japanese diners would actually have first enjoyed tonkatsu with a fork, even though such utensils were largely unknown in the country until this point!