Tonkatsu vs. Tonkotsu

I have no issue calling pho “pho,” yet there are those who would call it “pha” based on the number of people who cannot get tonkotsu and tonkatsu right.

In a number of languages, having one letter off can have a tremendous impact on the meaning of the word (my girlfriend asked how she looked, and I said she was looking very fit/fat).

You say potato, I say po-tot-oh, you say tonKATSU, I say tonKOTSU. Tonkatsu, tonkotsu, tonkatsu, tonkotsu….

Photo Description: an image depicting tonkatsu vs. tonkotsu. The top shows deep-fried pork cutlet and the bottom shot of pork ramen broth.


No, no, and no, you’re killing my inner happy self. It’s not just a difference of opinion on the pronunciation because it’s actually two different things. “You people,” come on, if it is:

Pork (ton) cutlet, it is “tonkatsu,” chicken (chikin), it is “chikinkatsu,” minced beef/pork (menchi), it is “menchikatsu“.

All three are deep-fried after being dredged in flour, egg, and breaded in “panko” which is Japanese bread crumbs.

Photo Description: pictured is a tonkatsu spread which is deep-fried pork cutlet.
Deep-fried breaded pork cutlet (tonkatsu)


Yes, “they’re,” “they are”, “there,” “their,” might be confusing for some, but at least when you get those wrong, you won’t end up with the wrong order.

Kotsu means roughly “bone stock”.

Photo Description: pork bone based ramen broth.
Pork bone broth based ramen (tonkotsu)

Spelling Matters

Hopefully, by this point, you might be starting to realize that this isn’t ramen (don’t be asking where’s the noodles), and if it is sinking in, pat yourself on the back although don’t get too cocky because we still need to discuss macaroon and macaron (not the same either).

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