Katsudon (Japanese: カツ丼) is a popular Japanese food, a bowl of rice topped with a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet, egg, vegetables, and condiments.


The dish takes its name from the Japanese words tonkatsu (for pork cutlet) and donburi (for rice bowl dish).

It has become a modern tradition for Japanese students to eat katsudon the night before taking a major test or school entrance exam. This is because "katsu" is a homophone of the verb katsu (勝つ), meaning "to win" or "to be victorious". It is also a trope in Japanese police films: that suspects will speak the truth with tears when they have eaten katsudon[1] and are asked, "Did you ever think about how your mother feels about this?" Even nowadays, the gag of "We must eat katsudon while interrogating" is popular in Japanese films. However, as of 2019, police will never actually feed suspects during interrogation.[2]


The tonkatsu for the katsudon dish is prepared by dipping the cutlet in flour, followed by egg, then dipping in panko breadcrumbs, and deep-frying.[3] Next, into a boiling broth of dashi, soy sauce and onions, the sliced tonkatsu and a beaten egg is cooked.[3]


Other bowls, made of cutlet and rice but without eggs or stock, may also be called katsudon. Such dishes include:

If pork is substituted with beef, it will be gyū-katsu-don.[5] A variation made with chicken katsu and egg is called oyako katsudon,[6] which is distinguished from oyakodon where the meat in the latter is not fried.

See also

  • Donburi: Japanese bowls of food on rice
  • Tonkatsu: deep fried pork cutlet
    • Katsukarē: another tonkatsu dish with curry sauce and without eggs,[7] served in a plate with spoon, not in a bowl with chopsticks.[7]


  1. Shoji, Kaori (2008-06-10). "Investigating the linguistic allure of hard-boiled detectives". The Japan Times. Archived from the original on 2020-09-19. Retrieved 2021-08-15.
  2. McGee, Oona; Sunakoma, Masanuki (2019-01-24). "We eat a meal to remember…at a Japanese police station in Fukuoka". SoraNews24. Archived from the original on 2019-01-24. Retrieved 2021-08-15.
  3. "Experience Japanese Home Cooking" (PDF). Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (Japan). 2021-02-10. p4:Tonkatsu, p5:Katsudon). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-08-15. Retrieved 2021-08-15.
  4. Yamada, Akira (2020-03-01). "Japanese kitchen – Sauce katsu-don". Embassy of Japan in the UK. Archived from the original on 2021-08-15. Retrieved 2021-08-15.
  5. Doi, Yoshiharu (2016-05-14). "Sōsu katsudon" ソース牛カツ丼 [Worcestershire sauce katsudon]. TV Asahi (in Japanese). Archived from the original on 2016-06-25. Retrieved 2021-08-16.
  6. Urakami, Yutaka (2019-01-09). "Kitchen puipui – Oyako katsudon" キッチンぷいぷい 親子カツ丼 [Kitchen puipui – parent-and-child cutlet donburi]. Mainichi Broadcasting System. Archived from the original on 2019-09-02. Retrieved 2021-08-16.
  7. "Tonkatsu". japan-guide.com. Retrieved 2021-08-16.
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