HomeFoods And DrinksTontoro: A Delicious and Indulgent Japanese Pork Dish

Tontoro: A Delicious and Indulgent Japanese Pork Dish

Japanese cuisine is known around the world for its delicate flavors that stimulate taste buds with fresh ingredients, and artistic presentation. Tontoro dish is one of them. This is a pork dish that is particularly healthy and also,  increasingly popular in Japan and abroad. In this article, we’ll look at its history, how it’s made, and where you can try it.

What is Tontoro?

Tontoro - a famous Japanese dish

This popular Japanese dish made with pork, has recently become popular around the world. To make this, pork is cut into thick slices, and cooked slowly over low heat until it becomes tender and juicy, and pickles made from a mixture of soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, and other spices are added to it. This gives it its characteristic rich taste. This dish is usually served with rice and vegetables, making it a satisfying meal.


The dish originates from the southern Japanese island of Kyushu and it was first created as a local specialty. The dish became increasingly popular throughout Japan in the mid-20th century as a hearty and delicious comfort food. Today, Tontoro is enjoyed by everyone across Japan and has even gained a following among foodies around the world.

Nutritional Value

  • Calories: Approximately 400 kcal
  • Protein: Around 14-15 grams
  • Fat: Varies but can be high, typically 30-35 grams
  • Saturated Fat: Quantity can range between 10-15 grams
  • Cholesterol: Approximately 70-80 milligrams
  • Sodium: between 50-70 milligrams
  • Carbohydrates: typically less than 1 gram

Culinary Uses

Tontoro is perfect for grilling, braising, or frying, and its thick marbling adds richness to stews, ramen, or sizzling BBQ. Its high-fat content results in unparalleled suppleness, making it ideal for enticing appetizers or as a savory complement to pasta sauces. Season with spices or marinades to enhance its flavor profile and give depth of flavor to a variety of dishes. In substantial soups or as a delicious centerpiece on your plate, this dish delivers a gourmet experience.

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How is Made?

You can make this dish yourself using just a few ingredients. This requires pork, soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, garlic, and ginger as ingredients. This can be started by cutting the pork into thick slices about 1 to 1.5 inches wide to start cooking. Next, the marinade should be prepared by mixing soy sauce, sake, mirin, sugar, garlic, and ginger. Marinate the pork for at least a few hours or overnight if possible.

Before you cook the mixture, you should preheat a frying pan or grill to medium heat. Then place the pork slices on the pan or grill and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until they are browned and crispy on the outside. Then reduce the heat slightly and cook the pork mixture for another 30-40 minutes until it is tender and juicy.

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Benefits and nutritional information you may gain

Let’s take a look at some of the benefits and nutritional information you can get from eating This pork dish, which is made from the fatty part of a pig’s cheek.

  • High in protein

Pork is protein-rich meat that helps build and repair body tissues when consumed. Tontoro is primarily based on pork and 100 grams of it contains about 21 grams of protein.

  • Energy

The body needs fat and calories for energy, insulation, and protecting organs. This is high in calories and contains a significant amount of fat. So this dish gives you the energy needs of your body.

  • Vitamins and minerals

Eating this dish can provide your body with several vitamins and minerals including niacin, thiamin, vitamin B6, phosphorus, and zinc. These nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy bones, teeth, and skin, as well as supporting the immune system.

Health Benefits

  • Boosts brain function

Choline is an essential nutrient for brain development and function, and pork has high levels of it. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cell membranes and fat metabolism and improves liver function.

  • Enhances muscle function

This dish contains creatine, which helps improve muscle function and performance during high-intensity exercise.


  • Grilled: Often marinated in savory or sweet sauces, grilled Tontoro is a popular recipe in many Asian cuisines, particularly Japanese and Korean BBQ.
  • Braised or Stewed: Slow-cooked in fragrant broths or sauces produces a delicate, melt-in-your-mouth texture that is commonly seen in stews, casseroles, or hearty soups.
  • Fried or Crispy: Sliced pork may be fried to a crisp, providing a crispy outside while retaining a delicious inside, making it an ideal accompaniment to appetizers or served with dipping sauces.
  • Tontoro Ramen: Thinly sliced or diced pork adds richness and depth to the broth, boosting the overall flavor of the noodle soup when used as a topping in ramen dishes.
  • Ethnic Cuisines: This is used in a variety of ethnic cuisines, each with its own set of seasonings, spices, and cooking methods, resulting in a wide range of taste profiles based on cultural preferences.
  • Marinated or Seasoned: This can be marinated with a variety of ingredients such as soy sauce, garlic, ginger, honey, or various herbs and spices, allowing for a variety of taste combinations.

Where to Try?

If you’re dying to try this Japanese dish, there are several places you can find it in Japan or around the world. Izakayas (Japanese pubs) and Yakiniku (Japanese barbecue) restaurants include this dish as part of their menu and are also welcome to entertain guests. In Japan, you can easily find this food in markets and stores. If You are outside of Japan, go to the nearest Japanese restaurant and check if they offer This in their menu.

Where I can find Tontoro in the USA

You are more likely to find restaurants serving Tontoro dishes in major American cities such as New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco, which have significant Japanese populations. And it’s always a good idea to check the menus of Japanese restaurants in your area to see if they offer this dish. For this, you can visit their website or give them a call

The price in Japan And the USA?

The price may vary by restaurant. Average prices in Japan range from 500 to 2000 yen (approximately $5 to $20)

But this can cost  $10 to $20 anywhere in the USA. The location and type of restaurant will affect it. Prices may be slightly higher at a Japanese Izakaya or Yakiniku restaurant, or at high-end Japanese restaurants price is $20 to $30 or more.

It’s always a good idea to check the menu or ask the server about prices before ordering to make sure you’re comfortable with the costs


Tontoro offers a flavorful journey through diverse cuisines, cooking techniques, and cultural significance. We invite you to embrace its versatility and indulge in the myriad of delicious possibilities it presents.


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