The Difference: Okonomiyaki Sauce vs Tonkatsu Sauce
When it comes to Japanese brown sauce, in addition to Tonkatsu sauce, Japanese-style Worcester Sauce, and Chuno sauce, Okonomiyaki sauce is commonly used in Japan’s households.
As I wrote about the difference between Tonkatsu sauce, Japan’s Worcester sauce, and Chuno sauce the other day, they are similar in taste, so, for example, you can use Tonkatsu sauce in place of Worcester sauce or Chuno sauce to your preference.
The Difference between Okonomiyaki Sauce and Tonkatsu Sauce
However, Okonomiyaki sauce is somewhat different in taste from the above 3 brown sauces, though they all look almost the same.
As the name indicates, “Tonkatsu sauce (とんかつソース)” matches best with Japanese-style pork cutlet “Tonkatsu (豚カツ)“, while “Okonomiyaki sauce (お好み焼きソース)”, also called “Okonomi sauce (お好みソース)”, is the sauce mainly used for “Okonomiyaki (お好み焼き)”.
Okonomiyaki is a Japanese savory pancake whose flour dough is mixed with various ingredients such as vegetables, pork belly slices, and seafood. As with Tonkatsu, Okonomiyaki is a popular comfort food in Japan.
Speaking of Okonomiyaki sauce, many Japanese will bring “Otafuku (オタフク)“‘s Okonomiyaki sauce to mind, while I think the Tonkatsu sauce most familiar to us Japanese is “Bull-Dog (ブルドック)”‘s one.
As for the ingredient, the Bull-Dog Tonkatsu sauce consists of tomato, apple, prune, lemon, carrot, onion, brewed vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, salt, starch, yeast extract, soybean, and spices.
On the other hand, the Otafuku Okonomiyaki sauce is made with tomato, dates, onion, high fructose corn syrup, sugar, brewed vinegar, hydrolyzed vegetable protein, salt, alcohol, soy sauce, spices, oyster extract, meat extract, yeast extract, kombu seaweed, protein hydrolyzate, shiitake mushroom, processed starch, amino acid, and caramel pigment.
In a word, Tonkatsu sauce is a thick, rich version of Japanese Worcester sauce. It is somewhat sweet and is characterized by its moderate spiciness.
On the other hand, this Otafuku’s Okonomiyaki sauce is a little thicker and sweeter than the Bull-Dog Tonkatsu sauce. Besides, unlike the Tonkatsu sauce, the Okonomiyaki sauce is little spicy.
In addition to the Tonkatsu pork cutlet, many Japanese people like to eat shredded cabbage with Tonkatsu sauce. The thick rich brown sauce is also commonly used as a seasoning for “Yakisoba (焼きそば)” noodles.
Okonomiyaki sauce matches especially well with Okonomiyaki pancake, but it can also be used as a seasoning for noodle dishes, such as Yakisoba and Yaki Udon, and as a sauce for “Takoyaki (たこ焼き)” octopus balls as well.
Additionally, some Japanese home cooks use Okonomiyaki sauce as a secret seasoning in curry, and some like to use it by combining with other seasonings.