Are you bringing a Japanese-food first-timer with you to our Bellevue Japanese restaurant? Try recommending a classic tonkatsu dish. Even for the least adventurous of Western diners, this well-loved pork cutlet is a surefire thumbs-up. Many find it to be one of Japan’s most “familiar” dishes, most resembling the kind of fare you might be used to finding at a common US diner. Indeed, this is exactly the genesis of the tonkatsu in the first place.
Tonkatsu is thought to have first originated at some point around 1890 in Ginza, Japan. Though the details are fuzzy, it would seem that there was a restaurant in the area that was known for serving food inspired by European cooking techniques. Though the idea of “katsu” had existed for a long time, the deep-fried “tonkatsu” was a true novelty. The first tonkatsu dishes were actually eaten with a fork, which was a practice that was all but unknown in Japan at the time!