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What to Serve with Pork Tonkatsu? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Tonkatsu is a Japanese dish that consists of a breaded, deep-fried pork cutlet.

Pork filet or loin are the two choices for making the dish.

The cutlet is a tasty and versatile dish that pairs well with multiple items.

Pork tonkatsu is a popular dish in Japan, but it’s also gaining plenty of attention in other places with Japanese restaurants.

Some popular side dishes with tonkatsu include shredded cabbage, tonkatsu sauce, miso soup and steamed rice.

If you want to know what to serve with pork tonkatsu, check out below to learn more as we list the ten best items including the ones above.

Why Consider Serving Side Dishes with Pork Tonkatsu?

Though pork tonkatsu is a standalone dish, it’s heavy and can quickly overload you.

But if you add side dishes and a smaller portion of meat, it will make a complete meal.

Nobody likes to eat only a single dish even if it’s flavorful as tonkatsu.

Any food becomes more exciting when you have some extra items to eat.

You’ll also have to think of serving side dishes whenever you plan to serve tonkatsu as a main dish at any special occasion or family dinner.

What to Serve with Pork Tonkatsu? 10 BEST Side Dishes

These are some items you can serve with pork tonkatsu.

1 – Shredded Cabbage

Sliced or shredded cabbage is perhaps the most common side dish with tonkatsu.

Fresh cabbage wasn’t the usual accompaniment when the pork cutlet first appeared.

According to reports, the pairing came by chance in 1904 in a Tokyo restaurant called Rengatei.

The owner made the tonkatsu and cabbage pairing because he didn’t have time and extra cooks to make veggie side dishes.

The pairing was a hit; since then, shredded cabbage accompanies tonkatsu most times.

Raw cabbage tastes best when fresh, so look for tight heads without blemish and crisp leaves.

2 – Tonkatsu Sauce

You should have a sauce when serving pork tonkatsu and what can be better than tonkatsu sauce? It’s the most commonly served condiment with pork tonkatsu so we couldn’t leave it off the list.

Tonkatsu sauce is made of few ingredients, but it has a complex flavor of sweetness, sourness and pungency.

However, it isn’t as heavy compared to other Japanese sauces.

Some everyday items used in the sauce include tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, garlic and ginger powder, brown or white sugar, salt and sake.

Some also contain mirin, soy sauce, Dijon mustard, oyster sauce, apple cider vinegar and carrots.

So, you can make a version according to the availability of ingredients.

3 – Japanese Potato Salad

Potatoes are also popular in Japanese cuisine, and the spuds appear on most menus.

Potato salad in Japanese style is one of the items that complement tonkatsu.

Japanese potato salad differs a lot from its Western varieties in ingredients.

While most recipes use a tangy vinaigrette, the Japanese version always uses a mayo-based dressing.

It also includes eggs, ham and a variety of veggies.

However, while most potato salads require a waxy variety, this dish requires Russet type.

It’s high in starch and low in moisture and ideal for making Japanese potato salad.

4 – Spicy Edamame

When serving a Japanese dish, it’s best to serve side dishes with Japanese flavors.

Spicy edamame is another item you can serve with tonkatsu.

You can make a spicy version to add some heat to your food.

Edamame refers to immature soybeans and a dish made of the beans.

Spicy edamame is a popular Japanese side dish served with various dishes.

Spicy edamame uses whole soybeans but they’re tender so you can easily separate the beans from the pod when eating.

There are several recipes with different ingredients so you can make a version of your choice.

A suitable sauce makes the soybeans yummy and perfect to have with tonkatsu.

5 – Agedashi Tofu

Tofu is a regular feature of Asian cuisine and is cooked in many ways.

Agedashi tofu is one of the most popular Japanese dishes and it’s frequently served with tonkatsu.

Tofu is also called bean curd and is a soybean product.

Hence, we have one more soybean dish that looks and tastes different so it won’t feel like eating the same thing.

Agedashi tofu is a hot dish of tofu coated in flour and fried and topped with a delicious sauce made of dashi granules, soy sauce, mirin and water.

6 – Steamed Rice

Rice is often served as a side dish but it’s filling without being heavy.

It’s a versatile grain that pairs well with many different foods.

You can also include steamed rice in your menu to pair with tonkatsu.

Steamed rice is one of the easiest dishes to cook as you don’t have to add other ingredients.

Rice and pressure cooker are the easiest to make rice, but you must use the right amount of water and follow the correct timing.

You can also cook on a stovetop in a pot, if you like but must follow the instructions correctly.

Short-grain rice is the best for making steamed rice.

7 – Miso Soup

You must serve miso soup with tonkatsu because the two make a lovely combination.

The soup is also popular in Japanese cuisine and is made of dashi stock and miso paste.

Miso paste is also made of soybeans so we have three dishes with beans.

The paste also contains koji rice and salt.

The main ingredients of the warm soup are tofu and green onions with mushrooms, daikon radish, seaweed and other items.

You’ll find three types of miso paste and anyone is good for the soup.

But most eateries use the red one as its flavor is more intense.

8 – Tsukemono

Japanese food consists of many types of dishes and tsukemono or pickled vegetables are an important part of their cuisine.

The natives use different vegetables, fruits, spices and herbs to make tsukemono so you’ll find many types.

Tsukemono is also versatile and makes a suitable partner with tonkatsu.

Hence, you’ll see the pairing frequently.

You’ll find tsukemono made of daikon radish, cabbage, plums, carrot, cucumber, eggplant and ginger.

You can serve any type according to availability.

9 – Steamed Broccoli

A simple dish of steamed broccoli also matches tonkatsu.

The veggie with crisp-tender texture complements the juicy pork cutlets and tones down the richness and balances the meal.

You can have a full meal when combining the veggie florets with the meat dish and feel satisfied but not overwhelmed even if you eat a big portion.

But you mustn’t overeat the pork as too much meat isn’t good for your health.

You can make steamed broccoli with salt and pepper or add a light condiment of soy, oyster sauce, sesame oil, water, and pepper.

10 – Kohlrabi Salad

It’s the final dish on the list but not least in taste.

Kohlrabi salad is also an excellent item to serve with tonkatsu.

It’s crunchy, sweet and tangy with a lovely fragrance.

Kohlrabi means cabbage turnip in German (kohl=cabbage, rabi=turnip) and rightly so because the vegetable looks like turnip and tastes like cabbage but with a milder flavor.

Making the salad is easy and you can do so with everyday ingredients like kohlrabi, radishes, green onion, mango (or pineapple), cilantro (or parsley) and nuts (cashews, almonds or peanuts).

A simple honey and vinegar dressing with ginger, sesame oil, garlic, salt and pepper bind the salad.


You’ll have ten side dishes as backup whenever you serve Japanese pork cutlets.

Each one is delicious and makes a fine pairing with tonkatsu so you won’t struggle.

If you want to serve the cutlets at a big event, choose at least 5-6 dishes so that you have sufficient food for everyone.

Go with fewer if you have only a few guests.

As we always say, never repeat a dish or even a delicious dish that will feel like it’s not tasty anymore.

What to Serve with Pork Tonkatsu? 10 BEST Side Dishes

Wondering what sides to serve with pork tonkatsu? Explore our list of the 10 best side dishes that enhance the flavors of this crispy Japanese dish.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Side Dishes
Servings 4 Servings


  • Shredded Cabbage
  • Tonkatsu Sauce
  • Japanese Potato Salad
  • Spicy Edamame
  • Agedashi Tofu
  • Steamed Rice
  • Miso Soup
  • Tsukemono
  • Steamed Broccoli
  • Kohlrabi Salad


  • Pick your favorite recipe from the article.
  • Organize your ingredients and utensils.
  • Follow the detailed instructions in the recipe to make your side dish.
  • Prepare and serve for delicious meal!
Keyword What to Serve with Pork Tonkatsu
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