The Difference: Katsu, Tonkatsu, Hire-katsu, and Rosu-katsu
When it comes to the restaurant unique to Japan, you couldn’t find the same type of restaurants as “Tonkatsu-ya (とんかつ屋)” in your country.
Tonkatsu-ya is the Japanese restaurant that serves “Tonkatsu (豚カツ)” which is a slice of pork battered, and then deep-fried in plenty of oil.
Tonkatsu-ya usually offers “Hire-katsu (ヒレカツ)” and “Rosu-katsu (ロースカツ)” as signature dishes. Apart from these 3 “Katsu” dishes, actually there is also a Japanese dish just called “Katsu (カツ)”.
The Difference between Katsu, Tonkatsu, Hire-katsu, and Rosu-katsu
Then, what is the difference between the 4 Japanese “Katsu” dishes, that is, Katsu, Tonkatsu, Hire-katsu, and Rosu-katsu? Today, I will explain it.
Gyu-katsu (牛カツ : The Katsu made with a slice of beef)
“Katsu (カツ)” generally refers to the sliced meat, such as pork, beef, and chicken, that has been battered and deep-fried. The batter usually consists of wheat flour, beaten egg, and breadcrumbs “Panko (パン粉)“.
Actually, Katsu is the Japanese abbreviation for cutlet and characterized by its crispy texture that comes from the brown deep-fried breadcrumb coating.
We Japanese usually eat Katsu dishes, including Tonkatsu, Hire-katsu and Rosu-katsu, with Tonkatsu sauce, a thick, sweet Japanese-style Worcestershire sauce.
“Tonkatsu (豚カツ)” is the quintessential Katsu dish. In other words, Katsu includes Tonkatsu, and the Katsu whose meat is pork is generally called Tonkatsu.
By the way, the word in the food name, “Ton (豚)” actually means “hog” or “pig” in Japanese, and when we Japanese just say “I want to eat Katsu”, in many cases that Katsu refers to Tonkatsu, or pork cutlet.
Image : Zennoh Fukushima
Hire-katsu is a type of Tonkatsu. “Hire (ヒレ)” refers to the portion “fillet”, so Hire-katsu is the Tonkatsu made with a slice of pork fillet.
Hire-katsu is a smooth, tender meat with a little fat. It is light in taste, low in calories, and known as the highest grade Tonkatsu.
As with Hire-katsu, Rosu-katsu is also classified as a Tonkatsu. Since “Rosu (ロース)” is the Japanese word for the portion “loin”, Rosu-katsu is the Tonkatsu made with a slice of pork loin.