A schnitzel is a thin slice of meat (or a vegetarian alternative, like cheese) fried in fat. The meat is usually thinned by pounding with a meat tenderizer. Most commonly, the meats are breaded before frying. The breaded schnitzel is popular in many countries and made using veal, pork, chicken, mutton, beef, turkey, cheese or textured vegetable protein as a vegetarian or vegan alternative. It is very similar to the dish escalope in France, tonkatsu in Japan, and the milanesa of Italy, Mexico, Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and chicken fried steak of the American South.