Enjoy Tonkatsu at Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin in Waikiki

One of the new restaurants on Waikiki’s Beachwalk is Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin. First of all let me explain “tonkatsu”. The literal translation of “tonkatsu” is “pork cutlet”. The Japanese are known for taking Western products and reinventing it with a Japanese flair. And that is what they did with cutlets. I have been told that cutlets were introduced to Japan from Europe in the late 19th century.
“Katsuretsu” (Japanese way of saying “cutlet”) was first served in a western style restaurant in Tokyo in 1890. The beef version was served at that time. This dish was then Japanized over the years.
It became tonkatsu or pork cutlet (breaded, deep fried pork), to be served with a bowl of rice, miso soup and cabbage with a special tonkatsu sauce. Even the sauce was Japanized to please the Japanese palate, it’s like a thick Japanese Worcestershire sauce. From plate and fork to bowl and chopsticks! You really must give the Japanese a lot of credit for their creativity. Tonkatsu is a very popular dish in Japan. It goes well with curry and also in a sandwich. I must say that my home made tonkatsu is quite good. But I recommend that you visit Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin in Waikiki to acquire a true appreciation of the authentic flavors and presentation of tonkatsu before you attempt to make it yourself. This restaurant is originally from Ginza in Tokyo, Japan and has a history that dates back to 1927. I have been told that the original restaurant’s “katsudon” (cutlet made with eggs and special sauce served over rice) is a winner.


Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin in Waikiki has been in business for over a year now. Prior to that the local people were able to get a taste of their delicious tonkatsu whenever they sold it at the food festivals at Shirokiya. I recall long lines for their katsudon. And the local support continues, especially during lunch time.


Their tradition continues even in Hawaii. Here is their leather bound menu. Carefully selected ingredients include special breadcrumbs from Japan. The tonkatsu is deep fried in cotton seed oil…simply delicious. The prices may be on the high side but their specials are of value too. The lunch special varies each day and is priced at $13.

This special was a combination of cream croquette, fried onions and filet cutlet.

Look at this…golden brown.

Perfectly fried. And the special Ginza Bairin tonkatsu sauce is also to die for!

All you can eat rice and cabbage. I had three helpings of the cabbage. Perhaps $13 is a bit hefty for lunch however the splurge was well worth it. I am looking forward to my next visit to Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin. Hope to see you there!

Tonkatsu Ginza Bairin
225 Beachwalk Honolulu, Hawaii 96815
Lunch 11:00-14:30
Dinner 17:00-21:30

Honolulu Festival Foundation

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