The Difference: Katsudon vs Tonkatsu

“Tonkatsu (豚カツ)” is one of the quintessential Japanese pork dishes that are popular in many countries.

Other than Tonkatsu, in Japan, there are several dishes whose name includes the word “Katsu (カツ)”, which include just “Katsu (カツ)”, “Hire Katsu (ヒレカツ)”, and “Rosu Katsu (ロースカツ)”.

“Katsu (カツ)” is actually the Japanese word for cutlet, but for people who don’t know much about those Japanese Katsu dishes, I explained how they differ from one another before.

The Difference between Tonkatsu and Katsudon

Actually further, in addition to them, there is one more popular Katsu dish called “Katsudon (カツ丼)” in Japan, which is, together with Tonkatsu, fairly well-known to overseas people.

However, it seems some people don’t clearly tell the difference between Katsudon and Tonkatsu, so today let me talk about that.

Tonkatsu (豚カツ)


First off, Tonkatsu is the Japanese-style pork cutlet whose meat, typically from the portion fillet or loin, is seasoned with a dash of salt and pepper, coated with wheat flour, dipped in beaten egg, breaded, and deep-fried in plenty of lard or vegetable oil.

Tonkatsu is especially characterized by the crispy, brown deep-fried “Panko (パン粉)” breadcrumb covering, and served on a plate typically with shredded cabbage, but separately from a bowl of plain white rice.

As for the eating manner, prior to eating, we usually dress the pork cutlet with the thick, sweet Japanese Worcester sauce “Tonkatsu sauce (トンカツソース)” and enjoy the sliced fillet one by one with “Karashi (カラシ)” yellow mustard.

Katsudon (カツ丼)


On the other hand, Katsudon is a type of “Donburi (丼)” or Japanese rice bowl dish typically consisting of a bed of steamed plain rice in a bowl topped with Tonkatsu slices, covered with lightly cooked egg.

The basic cooking process of Katsudon is that Tonkatsu slices are first simmered in soy-sauce-based sauce, covered with lightly beaten egg, and then placed on a hot bowl of plain white rice.

In Japan, Katsudon is available in several variants, which include “Sauce Katsudon (ソースカツ丼)” whose Tonkatsu slices are dressed with a Japanese Worcestershire sauce without being covered by eggs.

Sauce KatsudonSauce Katsudon

(Reference Pages: Wikipedia カツ丼, 豚カツ )


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.

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