What are Katsu, Tonkatsu, Hire-Katsu, and Rosu-Katsu?
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.
Gyu-Katsu (牛カツ: Katsu using a slice of beef)
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) 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.
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 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.