Menchi Katsu (メンチカツ)
Menchi katsu or minchi katsu is a meat dish, in which ground pork or beef (minchi) is mixed well with minced onions, salt and pepper, formed into flat ovals, coated with breading made of flour, beaten eggs and panko (Japanese-style coarse bread crumbs), and deep fried in oil.
In other words, it's a raw hamburger patty that is breaded like a cutlet and deep fried.
Origin and name
Origin in Japan
Various theories exist, but it is said to have been created by a western-style restaurant in Asakusa, Taito Ward, Tokyo, where it was sold as a "minced meat cutlet" during the Meiji period. The word menchi is derived from ground meat, and both 'menchi katsu' and 'minchi katsu' are words coined in Japan.
Introduction to the Kansai region
There are various theories; in the Kansai region, it is said to have begun at Genuine Kobe Beef Mitsuwaya Butcher Shop (present-day Mitsuwaya Sohonten (main store), established in 1901) during the early Showa period, using 'menchi boru' (meatballs) from a western-style restaurant in Tokyo as a hint, and the second owner, Mitsuji MIZUNO invented and named it 'menchi katsu.'
In the regions where the word 'menchi katsu' is used, the word is often abbreviated as 'menchi.'
However, in the Kansai area, 'minchi' is a word used solely to mean ground meat, and the word 'minchi' is not used as an abbreviation for 'minchi katsu'.
Relationship with slang expression
In the Kansai region, the word 'menchi' can suggest the expression 'menchi wo kiru' (to glare at someone), a vulgar expression used when fighting. This has the same meaning as "gan wo tsukeru" or "gan wo tobasu" (both meaning to glare at someone), slang expressions in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Therefore, in the Kansai region, the word 'menchi' or 'menchi katsu' is avoided.
Typical way of eating
Menchi katsu is served as it is accompanied by Worcestershire sauce. Menchi katsu can also be used instead of a hamburger patty or as a filling in a sandwich.
Just like a croquette, it is a staple item at stores that sell take-out side dishes. In the neighborhood of Tsutenkaku in Naniwa Ward, Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture, it is just as popular as croquette and kushi katsu (cutlets on skewers).
In general, menchi katsu or minchi katsu carry an image of inexpensive western-style Japanese food. However, a luxury food version made with Kobe beef or Matsuzaka beef are also available.
A shelled boiled egg wrapped with a similar ground meat mixture, breaded in a similar manner and deep fried is called Scotch egg.