Katsu-curry is a dish in which a pork cutlet is placed on the curry and rice. The pork cutlet is often cut into slices of several centimeters width when served, to make it easier to eat. Serving styles vary depending on the restaurants and/or tastes of individulas such that curry sauce being put over the pork cutlet, or no curry sauce being put over the cutlet but Tonkatsu Sauce (a Japanese Ketchup product) being used instead. Some restaurants serve it with shredded cabbage by copying the style of eating pork cutlet.
Generally, katsu-curry is sometimes cited as a very hearty dish and also as a typical example of high-calorie food. It is often the case that those served in restaurants contain a lot of rice and a plate of katsu-curry may have over 1,000 kilo-calories. Although the curry and rice has become widely established in Japan since its arrival from India via the United Kingdom, recently a new food culture has developed, in which the curry and rice is served with other dishes such as various fried food; this culture is uncommon in other countries and is unique to Japan. Katsu-curry can be called a pioneer of this culture.
In addition to those with pork cutlet placed on top, other variations include those with chicken cutlet, beef cutlet, fried shrimp and fish, croquette, and karaage (deep-fried chicken, potatoes, etc) placed on top.
Since beef cutlet curry is not popular in places other than the Kansai region, beef cutlet has become a sort of local cuisine served in some restaurants in Osaka. Also, other applications include katsu-curry udon (Japanese wheat noodle) in which the base (rice) is replaced by udon. Katsu-curry udon is served in places such as "Tokumasa" in Osaka, a chain restaurant for curry udon (thick Japanese wheat noodles with curry soup).
Also, some katsudon (pork cutlet on rice) restaurants have "curry katsudon" on the menu, in which the egg soup for binding the cutlet in katsudon is replaced by curry sauce. It is not called "katsu-curry don" because the main part of this dish is the cutlet unlike katsu-curry.
It is said to have been originated by Shigeru CHIBA, who played for a team of the Nippon Professional Baseball called Yomiuri Giants and was a regular customer at "Grill Swiss", a western-style restaurant in Ginza 3-chome in Tokyo; he used to order tonkatsu and curry and rice separately, however one day asked: "Bring curry and rice with tonkatsu placed on top." A widely-accepted theory has it that the owner of the restaurant who observed the scene took a hint from the order and came up with a menu called "Chiba Katsu," which became to spread throughout Japan.
There is another theory according to which the origin of katsu-curry was a dish called "Kawakin-don" having been served since the Taisho period by 'Kawakin,' a street stall for tonkatsu in Asakusa, Tokyo. Since the origin place is said to be Tokyo, many of the curry and rice restaurants in the national capital region hold katsu-curry as their advertising menu, which is also the most popular dish in the menu.
Gekidan Hitori, a popular comedian, once called himself "katsu-curry" at the beginning of his talent activities before he began to use his current name, but it lasted only for two weeks due to a strong oppsition from the people in his office.