Tonkatsu? Hire-Katsu? Katsu-nabe? Katsu-don?!
Here’s a quick breakdown of common words you’ll see at Japanese restaurants in Korea when it comes to these deep-fried delicious goodness.
Tonkatsu (Korean: 돈카츠 or 돈까스) is a traditional Japanese pork dish. You’ll find it in just about every Japanese or Chinese restaurant here in Korea.
The ‘Ton’ in Tonkatsu refers to pork, and ‘Katsu’ means cutlet. Unlike the German schnitzel or American pork cutlet, Tonkatsu is coated with panko breadcrumbs, which gives it its airy, snowflake-like texture.
Traditional Japanese Tonkatsu are made with two specific cuts. Rosu-Katsu (Korean: 로스카츠) or Hire-Katsu (Korean: 히레카츠).
Rosu-Katsu is cutlet made with pork loin or sirloin, and Hire-Katsu is cutlet made with pork tenderloin. Rosu is fattier and juicer, whereas Hire is on the leaner side, making it slightly more expensive than Rosu.
When you order Tonkatsu as a main, it’s typically served with sweet and tangy dipping sauce or curry sauce, together with a portion of rice, thinly sliced cabbage salad, pickles, and soup on the side.
When Tonkatsu is served over rice, it’s called Katsudon.
‘Katsu’, cutlet, ‘-don’, bowl.
You’ll find it under the Donburi (Korean: 돈부리) category, meaning rice bowl.
It’s a classic rice bowl topped with runny egg, special soy sauce, and Tonkatsu.
When Tonkatsu is served over a hot pot, it’s called Katsu Nabe.
‘Nabe’ meaning hot pot.
You’ll also find katsu variations made with fish, chicken, minced beef, cheese, sweet potato, and more.
Whether it’s served on rice, nabe, or in a sandwich, there are endless ways to enjoy katsu.
To recap, here are the key words to remember that’ll make your katsu ordering experience a little easier.
- Katsu / 카츠: Cutlet
- Tonkatsu / 돈카츠: Pork Cutlet
- Rosu-katsu / 로스카츠: Pork Sirloin Cutlet
- Hire-katsu / 히레카츠: Pork Tenderloin Cutlet
- Don / 돈: Bowl
- Donburi / 돈부리: Rice Bowl
- Nabe / 나베: Hot Pot
*Note: Katsu may be written in the following three ways: 카츠, 가스, 까스
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