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Deep-fried breaded meat dishes are enjoyed in many parts of the world: South American milanesa, Central European schnitzel and decadent chicken Kiev. In Japan, appetites are similarly sated by tonkatsu.

A compound of the words “ton” (pork) and “katsu” (short for katsuretsu [cutlet]), this dish is one of many Japanese takes on yōshoku (Western food). The dish initially appeared deep-fried in butter in an 1895 cookbook, and others say that a pōku-katsuretsu (pork cutlet) served with shredded cabbage popped up on the menu of Ginza restaurant Rengatei four years later — where it remains to this day.

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