A schnitzel is a thin slice of meat 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, or turkey. It is very similar to the dish escalope in France, tonkatsu in Japan, and the milanesa of Italy, Mexico, Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil.
In Finland, the dish called Wieninleike ("Viennese cutlet"), is almost always made of pork, breaded and fried like the original. It is usually served with French fries, potato mash, or wedge potatoes. A slice of lemon, a slice of anchovy, and a few capers are placed on top of the cutlet. Usually the dish includes a small amount of salad made from fresh vegetables. The dish was popular between the end of the Second World War and the 1990s, when it could be found in most low-end restaurants in Finland. In past decades, its popularity has been dimmed by the rise of fast food.
Schnitzel Wiener Art is not made from a veal escalope but instead a pounded, breaded and fried pork cutlet cooked in the same style. It's mostly served along with french fries and a lemon slice.
The schnitzel tradition was brought from Europe to Israel by Ashkenazi Jews. During the early years of the state of Israel, veal was not obtainable, and chicken or turkey proved to be inexpensive and tasty substitutes. Packaged schnitzels are widely available from the frozen food section in most supermarkets. Some frozen schnitzels are breaded patties made from processed chicken or turkey meat, not whole poultry breasts.
In Argentina, this dish, called milanesa or carne empanizada, consists of a thin slice of beef, chicken, veal, or sometimes pork, and even eggplant or soy. Each slice is dipped into beaten eggs, seasoned with salt, and other ingredients according to the cook's taste (like parsley and garlic). Each slice is then dipped in bread crumbs (or occasionally flour) and shallow-fried in oil, one at a time. Some people prefer to use very little oil and then bake them in the oven as a healthier alternative.
In the Netherlands (and Belgium) schnitzel is mostly made of pork and served with fries and vegetable salad. Zigeunerschnitzel (served with paprika) and Cordon bleu (Blue ribbon) are very popular. A typical Dutch variant is the 'gehaktschnitzel', a schnitzel made of minced meat. In the Netherlands every butcher has his own variants.
In Portugal, schnitzel is called bife panado or just panado ("breaded"). Different varieties of panado can be made with chicken (panado de frango), turkey (panado de peru), pork (costeleta panada for pork chop, febra panada for pork without bone), or veal (escalope de vitela panado). The meat is usually seasoned with black pepper, garlic, and lemon juice. It is commonly served with spaghetti, fried potatoes, or rice (plain or with beans). It is also popular as a sandwich, served in a bun with lettuce (sandes de panado).