Tonkatsu (豚カツ, とんかつ, or トンカツ, pork cutlet), invented in the late 19th century, is a popular dish in Japan. It consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet one to two centimeters thick and sliced into bite-sized pieces, generally served with shredded cabbage. Either a pork fillet (ヒレ, hire) or pork loin (ロース, rōsu) cut may be used.
It was originally considered a type of yōshoku—Japanese versions of European cuisine invented in the late 1800s and early 1900s—and was called katsu-retsu (“cutlet”) or simply katsu. Early katsu-retsu was usually beef; the pork version, similar to today’s tonkatsu, is said to have been first served in 1890 in a western food restaurant in Ginza, Tokyo. The term “tonkatsu” (“pork katsu”) was coined in the 1930s.