Tokyo fast food information- What is gyudon (beef bowl)?

Tokyo fast food information- What is gyudon (beef bowl)?

2019-07-12

Japanese Food & Cuisine

McDonald’s, First Kitchen, Mos Burger, and more are only a few of the many fast food restaurants you can find in Tokyo.
Among them, gyudon or Beef Bowl is especially popular in Japan. It started when someone decided to put sukiyaki on top of rice, and its history goes back 100 years or more.

Let’s have a closer look at this Beef Bowl.

What is gyudon?

It is often made with beef and onions only on top of rice, but red pickled ginger and a chili & spices mix are offered as free toppings in most restaurants. I personally recommend that you eat half of it without any topping and add red ginger to the other half to enjoy a different flavor.

Another recommended topping is a raw egg. Raw eggs do not seem to be very popular outside Japan, but the mildness of the raw egg matches perfectly the sweet and salty taste of the beef bowl. It’s so delicious you’ll definitely want another bowl.

Extra sauce, please!?

It is often made with beef and onions only on top of rice, but red pickled ginger and a chili & spices mix are offered as free toppings in most restaurants. I personally recommend that you eat half of it without any topping and add red ginger to the other half to enjoy a different flavor.

Another recommended topping is a raw egg. Raw eggs do not seem to be very popular outside Japan, but the mildness of the raw egg matches perfectly the sweet and salty taste of the beef bowl. It’s so delicious you’ll definitely want another bowl.

Three major gyudon chains “Yoshinoya”, “Sukiya”, “Matsuya”

There are various restaurants selling gyudon, but the three most famous in Japan are Yoshinoya, Sukiya, and Matsuya. How are these different?

●Yoshinoya

This is the first restaurant that made the beef bowl into a chain store business. It was named after the founder’s hometown, Yoshino in Osaka. Founded in 1899, it has the longest history among the three major chains.

The balance between rice, beef, and sauce is maintained in all their stores, but if their basic taste is not good enough for you, I do recommend the extra sauce (tsuyu-daku) version.

●Sukiya

It is no exaggeration to say that Sukiya is leading the beef bowl industry. Sukiya’s marketing strategy, including the discount pass “Suki-pass”, was successful and by around 2009 it became the industry’s top, overtaking Yoshinoya.

Their gyudon is made with tender meat, and Sukiya’s own sweet and salty sauce that matches the meat perfectly. Eating half as is and then add red pickled ginger for a new refreshing flavor.

●Matsuya

Their biggest feature is the miso soup served with the gyudon. It is a simple miso soup with wakame seaweed and deep-fried tofu, but it goes very well with the slightly rich-flavored beef bowl. This soup feels like home.

「Message from the author」

Did you enjoy the article?

You may think it is just a beef bowl, but depending on the store, the taste is completely different, so I do recommend you try various gyudon and compare them. There are other restaurants that sell beef bowls, so it might also be fun to find your favorite gyudon place that is not one of the three major chains.

More articles recommend for you