Hailing from Japan, panko is a type of crisp, light, large breadcrumb. The crumbs are used to coat foods for frying or sautéing, as well as in recipes. Because it's coarser than most breadcrumbs, panko creates a deliciously crunchy crust. It can be found in Asian markets and the ethnic section of many supermarkets.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.