The Tonkatsu: From Japan to the World

Written by on April 6th, 2020 // Filed under Blog

Crispy, Spicy and Satisfying Simplicity

Just before a game or a school test, the Japanese like to feast on tonkatsu, katsudon, or a variation of it because the word “katsu” is a homophone of the word katsu (勝つ), meaning “to win,” or “to be victorious,” “to overcome,” in Japanese. But, it seems it’s not just the Japanese who like “tonkatsu”. Everyone loves it.

Did you know that Tonkatsu, literally means pork-cutlet?

It’s a fillet or loin of pork that’s breaded and deep-fried. It is most often served with shredded cabbage and cutlet sauce, and rice. Originating in Japan, around the 1900s, it was considered Western food until Japanese chefs started serving it with shredded cabbage and Worcestershire sauce or tonkatsu sauce. However, some places still serve it yōshoku style, with the rice on a flat plate instead of a rice bowl and with demi-glace sauce instead of Worcestershire sauce. Here are the different varieties.

Katsu Curry

This is tonkatsu on Japanese curry-rice. Curry is a very popular topping and appears on many curry- restaurants menus. Japanese curry is different from Thai or Indian curry as the sauce is thicker and the spice level is milder because Japanese curry uses curry powder which was introduced by the British. The meat can be cutlets of pork or chicken, and sometimes fish. The crispiness of the breaded meat, spiciness of the curry, plus rice, make it a filling, satisfying meal.

Katsu Sandwich

This is simply tonkatsu enjoyed as a sandwich filling. Some Worcestershire sauce or tonkatsu sauce is put on top of the tonkatsu.Sometimes shredded cabbage is included, too. It’s a very filling, portable meal! The bread can be toasted or sometimes buns and other types of bread are used. There are many variations to katsu-sand.


This is a rice-bowl meal prepared in a tamago-toji style or Japanese style scrambled eggs. Tonkatsu is cooked in broth and egg with onions placed on a bowl of rice to make katsudon. Tonkatsu without the tamago-toji is also enjoyed with just tonkatsu sauce, which is called sauce katsudon. Other variations include don made with beef-katsu or chicken-katsu, called beef katsudon and chicken katsudon.


Crazy About Katsu in Federal Way

KTon is the home of tonkatsu here in Federal Way. Enjoy our varied selections of katsu – from pork, chicken, shrimp, potato and cheese, to our delicious curry options.