What are Katsu, Tonkatsu, Hire-Katsu, and Rosu-Katsu?

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When it comes to the restaurant unique to Japan, it may be hard to find the same type of restaurant as Tonkatsu-Ya (とんかつ屋) in your country.

Tonkatsuya is a restaurant of Japanese origin that serves Tonkatsu (豚カツ).

The food is a pork cutlet whose meat is battered, breaded with panko breadcrumbs, and then deep-fried in plenty of lard or vegetable oil.

Tonkatsuya usually offers Hire-Katsu (ヒレカツ) and Rosu-Katsu (ロースカツ) as signature dishes.

And Tonkatsu, Hirekatsu, and Rosukatsu are all categorized into the Katsu (カツ) cuisine.

Katsu vs. Tonkatsu vs. Hire-Katsu vs. Rosu-Katsu

But how do the four Katsu, Katsu, Tonkatsu, Hire-Katsu, and Rosu-Katsu, differ from one another?

Today, let me give an overview of each for those unfamiliar with Japanese food.

Katsu (カツ)

Gyu-Katsu (牛カツ: Katsu using a slice of beef)Gyu Katsu

First and foremost, Katsu (カツ) is the Japanese word for cutlet.

Katsu is a dish typically made from a slice of pork or beef or chicken battered, breaded with panko, and deep-fried in plenty of lard or vegetable oil.

The Japanese cutlet features a brown, crispy covering, but the meat inside retains moisture and is tender.

Before eating, we commonly dress the cutlet with Tonkatsu sauce, a thick and sweet Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce.

And we enjoy the sliced meat with the Karashi yellow mustard.

Tonkatsu (豚カツ)

Tonkatsu (豚カツ) is a Japanese-style pork cutlet, or a Katsu made with a slice of pork, as the literal meaning of the word 豚 (Ton), also pronounced as Buta, is pig/hog.

Tonkatsu is the quintessential Katsu dish, and when Japanese people speak, I want to eat Katsu, it usually refers to a Tonkatsu.

Hire-Katsu (ヒレカツ)

Image: Zennoh Fukushima

Hire-Katsu is a variety of Tonkatsu. In its name, Hire (ヒレ) stands for the portion fillet. So Hirekatsu is a Tonkatsu using a slice of pork fillet or tenderloin.

Texture-wise, Hire-Katsu is smooth and tender, and it is light-tasting with low fat and low calories. Hirekatsu is the highest-grade Tonkatsu.

Rosu-Katsu (ロースカツ)

Rosu Pork Loin

Rosu-Katsu is also a Tonkatsu variety. In its name, Rosu (ロース) stands for the portion loin, and Rosu-Katsu is a Tonkatsu using a slice of pork loin.

Compared to Hire-Katsu, Rosukatsu has some fat, characterized by its rich umami taste.

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia カツ, 豚カツZennoh Fukushima)


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

2 Responses

  1. Tom says:

    I was in the US Air Force stationed at Yokota Airbase and we lived in old private base housing just outside of Tachikawa Airbase. I went shopping in an area next to the old Tachikawa Airbase called Ohyama Danchi. I would buy a snack called ika fry at the local grocery market. The market also sold ebi fry as well. I want to make ika fry but I don’t know the ingredients to make the coating with panko. What else would I need to prepare this coating?
    Thank you.

    • Tomo says:

      Hi Tom,
      Thank you for commenting.
      For example, based on this recipe on Kurashiru, a popular Japanese recipe site,
      The ingredients in the batter for the ika fry (for 2 servings) are

      One medium-size egg
      30 cc (grams) water
      50 grams cake flour

      Mix them up in a bowl, put in prepared squid rings, and coat the battered rings with panko breadcrumbs.

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