【Food】”Donburi,” rice bowl dishes, everyone’s favorite2015.08.24

150824 どんぶり

Simmered beef, fried prawns, boiled chicken, pork cutlets, grilled eels, fresh tuna, salmon roes and sea urchins.

Japanese people love “donburi” or “donburi-mono” which refers to a deep bowl of rice topped with a variety of ingredients that are either cooked or fresh. The style is so popular that it has become an integral part of Japanese cuisine. There are a wide range of rice bowl dishes. Cooking information website Cookpad provides more than 30,000 recipes for “donburi” menus.

It may be a little surprising but “donburi” is a relatively new cooking style. It started incidentally by putting several dishes together for convenience. Tendon, “tempura donburi”, is thought to be one of the oldest rice bowl dishes with its origin dating back to 1837. The bowl is topped with deep-fried seafood and vegetables dipped in a sauce. It is typically served at soba noodle shops and tempura restaurants. Other popular “donburi” dishes include Gyudon, Oyakodon, Katsudon and Kaisendon.

Gyudon consists of a bowl of rice with beef and onion shimmered in a mildly sweet sauce. The beef bowl is the most popular and familiar “donburi” as several specialized chain shops offer it at inexpensive prices across the country. Among the well-known chains are Yoshinoya, Sukiya, and Matsuya. Gyudon is considered as fast food because it usually takes only a few minutes to be served after ordering. It goes well with a raw egg and red pickled ginger.

Oyakodon is a chicken and egg bowl. Oyako means a parent and a child. The name comes from “the parental relation” between chicken and eggs. Katsudon is pork cutlet “donburi.” It is served with deep-fried breaded pork, eggs and onions over the rice.

Kaisendon comes with several kinds of fresh seafood such as tuna, shrimps, salmon, salmon roes, sea urchins and crab meat. “Kaisen” means fresh seafood. Fine Kaisendon is available at major fish and seafood markets. In Tokyo, the Tsukiji Market is famous for a variety of seafood bowls at reasonable prices.


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