Donburi: A Complete Package of Happiness in One Bowl

  • FOOD
  • Donburi or don (literally “bowl”), is a Japanese rice bowl dish. It consists of fish, meat, vegetables or other ingredients simmered together and served over rice.

    Japan has invented the Don in the late 1800’s as a convenient meal-on-the-go. Throughout the years, the Japanese continued eating and innovating the Donburi into a wide range of variations. Nowadays, the Donburi is considered a traditional yet modern Japanese cuisine. The Don has a functional beauty that obeys the law of taste, speed, and affordability. That’s why it has been alive for ages.

    Donburi dishes offer a wide range of choices differing in their toppings. Listed below are some of the more well-known Donburi dishes.



    The name of this donburi dish comes from the word “oya” which means “parent” and “ko” which means “child”. It is also called as the “mother and child don” because of its two main ingredients, chicken and egg. On the other hand, you can also meet an Oyakodon that features salmon and ikura (salmon eggs).



    Gyudon is a donburi dish with beef toppings. The beef and onions are simmered in a mildly sweet sauce seasoned with fish and seaweed stock, soy sauce, and sweet rice wine.



    Butadon is the pork version of Gyudon. It is originated in Hokkaido. It has the same mildly sweet sauce like the Gyudon but it uses pork instead.



    Unadon is a Japanese word combo from the word “unagi,” which means “eel”. Yes, from the word itself, it is a donburi in a large bowl filled with steamed white rice and topped with fillets of eel. The eel fillets are grilled in a style known as ‘kabayaki’, similar to teriyaki. Unadon was the first type of donburi rice dish that was invented in the late Edo Period, during the Bunka era (1804-1818).



    Katsudon is served with breaded deep-fried pork cutlets (tonkatsu). It was accompanied by onions and beaten egg then topped on rice. There are some regional variations in Japan.



    If you’re a seafood lover, kaisendon is for you. It is a seafood donburi where rice is topped with a variety of raw food. The seafood that is served on kaisendon varies from one place to the other and may differ according to the season. However, some of the common seafoods that are served are tuna, shrimps, salmon, crabs, and sea urchin.

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