A classic type of donburi rice bowl dish, gyudon is made with thinly sliced beef strips and plenty of onions; it’s a popular Japanese comfort food served over rice. Simmered together in a semi-sweet sauce made with dashi stock, soy sauce, and mirin (sweet cooking sake), gyudon is simple yet infinitely delicious, a meal that’s nutritious, filling, and quick to prepare. Conceptualized around the Edo Period, gyudon evolved from hot pot ingredients dished out over rice, to the Kanto region’s gyunabe (beef hot pot), and eventually becoming the modern gyudon. Particularly likened to sukiyaki, the flavor of this signature hot pot of salty-sweet broth with stewed beef and vegetables added to a rice bowl served as the humble beginnings of gyudon.
Always comforting and satisfying, gyudon is now a typical dish sold at fast food chains throughout Japan. Salarymen heading home from the office stop in for a quick meal, and students enjoy eating a hearty gyudon for a reasonable price. To add a level of creaminess, crack open a raw egg or mix through an onsen tamago (soft-poached egg) to coat the meat and seep down into the rice. You can top it off with pink pickled ginger and a shake of shichimi (ground chili pepper flakes), or add some negi (green onions) for a hint of freshness. Discover how to make it in a home cooking class or join a food tour to discover delicious gyudon options other than Matsuya and Yoshinoya!