Gyudon (beef rice bowl)

Beef Donburi with Edamame on top

For those of you that are familiar with Japanese fast food, you’ve probably heard of Yoshinoya. It’s a fast food chain that specializes in rice bowls and they’re particularly well known for their gyudon (Japanese beef and rice bowl).

This popularity was elevated to cult status when the Japanese government banned American beef imports due to the mad-cow scare. Being a fast food chain, they couldn’t afford to buy Japanese beef and continue selling the bowls for $3, so they halted the sale of their signature dish and replaced it with butadon (pork donburi). Their loyal fans where crushed and there was much hullabaloo over the whole episode until the menu item was restored a few years ago.

Honestly, I don’t get the appeal. True, it’s cheap, but there were people flying from Tokyo to LA to have a bowl during the beef-outtage, so that argument doesn’t really hold. Here’s my rendition of the popular dish. It’s truly as simple to make as it looks and yet it makes for a satisfying meal.

It’s important that you use a tender cut of beef with a lot of marbling. Since this is supposed to be a cheap dish, I pick up packs of “kiriotoshi” which are the odds and ends of high quality beef that’s left after they slice the beef for sukiyaki and shabu shabu. If you don’t happen to live near a Japanese grocery, you can semi-freeze a piece of beef and use a sharp knife to cut it across the grain into thin slices.

In other news, Kang over at London Eater has tagged me for a meme. I don’t participate in memes, but since he was nice enough to tag me and because he has a great collection of London restaurant reviews (which I’m sure to use the next time I’m over there) y’all should check out London Eater.

1 tsp oil
1/2 onion sliced thin
1/2 lbs marbled beef sliced thinly across the grain
2 Tbs mirin
2 Tbs sake (or water)
1 Tbs + 1 tsp soy sauce
2 tablespoons cooked and shelled edamame (soy beans)

Combine the mirin, water and soy sauce in small ramekin. Cook some rice.

When the rice is done and steaming, heat the pan over medium high heat until hot. Add the oil then stir-fry the onions until wilted, but not caramelized.

Add the beef and brown, then add the sauce. Reduce the heat and simmer until most (but not all) of the liquid is gone.

Serve over rice drizzling the sauce over the rice and top with the edamame for color.

  • http://www.kyotofoodie.com/ Peko Peko

    You know, I just realized that I have never seen a ‘beautiful’ gyudon until just now. The simple addition of green peas just makes it so new. I am surprised that I have never seen a gyudon like this in Japan. Gyudon to Japanese, must be some like a hotdog in a bun to Americans — a quick, utilitarian meal that doesn’t really need improving upon. I guess you showed ‘em wrong!

    Hey, we have a new project at KyotoFoodie, a ‘support forum’ for how to live it up in Kyoto. You might find it useful from afar, for recipe research and so on.

    http://www.openkyoto.com/kyoto-support

  • http://www.kyotofoodie.com Peko Peko

    You know, I just realized that I have never seen a ‘beautiful’ gyudon until just now. The simple addition of green peas just makes it so new. I am surprised that I have never seen a gyudon like this in Japan. Gyudon to Japanese, must be some like a hotdog in a bun to Americans — a quick, utilitarian meal that doesn’t really need improving upon. I guess you showed ‘em wrong!

    Hey, we have a new project at KyotoFoodie, a ‘support forum’ for how to live it up in Kyoto. You might find it useful from afar, for recipe research and so on.

    http://www.openkyoto.com/kyoto-support

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com/ Peter G

    I don’t get the appeal of Yoshinoya either. Sorry. overpriced here in Australia and the cuts of meat are nothing like yours. Love the soybeans on top!

  • http://www.souvlakiforthesoul.com Peter G

    I don’t get the appeal of Yoshinoya either. Sorry. overpriced here in Australia and the cuts of meat are nothing like yours. Love the soybeans on top!

  • http://www.tan-kitchen.com/ Tan

    Look really delicious. Edamame is Japanese famous bean right?
    I have seen a lot of them in Japanese restaurant, during waiting for food serve they serve this green bean.
    Great Recipe Marc.
    Tan;)

  • http://www.tan-kitchen.com Tan

    Look really delicious. Edamame is Japanese famous bean right?
    I have seen a lot of them in Japanese restaurant, during waiting for food serve they serve this green bean.
    Great Recipe Marc.
    Tan;)

  • http://myfinds-mikky.blogspot.com/ mikky

    you have a great place here… all your recipes look amazing… thanks for sharing… :)

  • http://myfinds-mikky.blogspot.com/ mikky

    you have a great place here… all your recipes look amazing… thanks for sharing… :)

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com/ Manggy

    Ah, it’s such a common problem in Gyudon I’ve seen here… Gray, weird beef! Nobody seems to take the time to take it to a beautiful brown. So naturally I’m drawn to your Gyudon in a way I could never seem to feel for the ones here :)

  • http://manggy.blogspot.com Manggy

    Ah, it’s such a common problem in Gyudon I’ve seen here… Gray, weird beef! Nobody seems to take the time to take it to a beautiful brown. So naturally I’m drawn to your Gyudon in a way I could never seem to feel for the ones here :)

  • https://letsgopoopie.blogspot.com/ Jesse

    Whoaaaa you win! Those slices of beef look golden and PERFECT! Not at all grey or, as I like to call it, Yoshinoya-ed. Mmm!

  • https://letsgopoopie.blogspot.com Jesse

    Whoaaaa you win! Those slices of beef look golden and PERFECT! Not at all grey or, as I like to call it, Yoshinoya-ed. Mmm!

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com/ Heather

    Oh, I love gyudon. I must’ve eaten it ten different times in a week in Tokyo, and you’re right – Yoshinoya ain’t all that. It’s like thinking that McDonald’s makes the best hamburger, and never going to a diner to try a real one. I like the egg raw, and cook it by stirring it into the heat of the rice. Then I sprinkle a bunch of togarashi on top for extra spai-shi goodness. :)

    Good tip re: kiriotoshi. I will look for that instead of paying for steak.

  • http://voodoolily.blogspot.com Heather

    Oh, I love gyudon. I must’ve eaten it ten different times in a week in Tokyo, and you’re right – Yoshinoya ain’t all that. It’s like thinking that McDonald’s makes the best hamburger, and never going to a diner to try a real one. I like the egg raw, and cook it by stirring it into the heat of the rice. Then I sprinkle a bunch of togarashi on top for extra spai-shi goodness. :)

    Good tip re: kiriotoshi. I will look for that instead of paying for steak.

  • http://www.blue-kitchen.com/ Terry B

    Whatever the cuisine–Japanese, French, classic American–the best dishes are often a simple treatment of a handful of carefully chosen ingredients. This looks and sounds delicious, and the edamame is a perfect touch. For the beef, I’m thinking flank steak might work well here.

  • http://www.blue-kitchen.com/ Terry B

    Whatever the cuisine–Japanese, French, classic American–the best dishes are often a simple treatment of a handful of carefully chosen ingredients. This looks and sounds delicious, and the edamame is a perfect touch. For the beef, I’m thinking flank steak might work well here.

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com/ Darius T. williams

    Looks simple enough and VERY taste – I could totally do this!

  • http://www.everydaycookin.blogspot.com Darius T. williams

    Looks simple enough and VERY taste – I could totally do this!

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com/ Tartelette

    I want this for dinner…tonight! Beef never looked so good Marc!

  • http://www.tartelette.blogspot.com Tartelette

    I want this for dinner…tonight! Beef never looked so good Marc!

  • http://www.soyandpepper.com/ Nilmandra

    I’ve not made gyudon for ages. I think I’ll be cooking some soon! Lovely photo and an inspired choice to top with edamame. My previous gyudon photographed so badly that I didn’t bother posting it.

  • http://www.soyandpepper.com Nilmandra

    I’ve not made gyudon for ages. I think I’ll be cooking some soon! Lovely photo and an inspired choice to top with edamame. My previous gyudon photographed so badly that I didn’t bother posting it.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    Gyudon is one of my favorite quick and tasty meals. I like the contrast that the bright green edamame gives.

  • http://closetcooking.blogspot.com/ Kevin

    Gyudon is one of my favorite quick and tasty meals. I like the contrast that the bright green edamame gives.

  • http://tamarindandthyme.wordpress.com/ Su-Lin

    I’m always torn with donburi – there never seems to be enough vegetables on them to make it a full meal. But I see you’ve overcome this with the edamame on top. I like it!

  • http://tamarindandthyme.wordpress.com Su-Lin

    I’m always torn with donburi – there never seems to be enough vegetables on them to make it a full meal. But I see you’ve overcome this with the edamame on top. I like it!

  • http://gagainthekitchen.blogspot.com/ gaga

    This is waaaay better than yoshinoya’s! I love how you paired it with edamame.

  • http://gagainthekitchen.blogspot.com gaga

    This is waaaay better than yoshinoya’s! I love how you paired it with edamame.

  • Marc

    Peko Peko, hahaha great analogy. Maybe I do something with a hotdog next;-) I’ll check out the forum, I wish there was a Tokyo equivalent to your site.

    Peter G, yea glad to hear it’s not just the American Yoshinoya’s that are no good.

    Tan, Edamame, is actually fresh soybeans, so you can probably find them in used in some form(tofu, soy sauce, etc) in just about any asian food, but I’m not sure if anyone else eats them fresh.

    Thanks Mikky:-)

    Manggy, hahhah yes “grey” is the perfect way to describe bad beef:-) I actually lucked out and found kiriotoshi from wagyu beef, so this was a bit of a luxurious gyudon.

    Thanks Jesse, lol “yoshinoya-ed” I’ll have to remember that one.

    Heza-san, yesu I riku supai-shi shinguzu bery mu-chi.

    Terry B, I tend to like boneless beef short ribs for this because they have a much higher fat content, but flank steak should do nicely as well if you want something leaner.

    Darius, it’s probably one of the simplest dishes to make.

    Tartelette, it may look good, but you should smell it, the combo of the onions, beef and soysauce is irresistable.

    Thanks Nilmandra, to be totally honest, the addition of the edmame was mainly for the photo, but it actually tasted pretty good so I left it in the recipe.

    Thanks Kevin!

    Su-Lin, gyudon is also great with a with a little bok choy or gai lan.

    Thanks gaga:-)

  • Marc

    Peko Peko, hahaha great analogy. Maybe I do something with a hotdog next;-) I’ll check out the forum, I wish there was a Tokyo equivalent to your site.

    Peter G, yea glad to hear it’s not just the American Yoshinoya’s that are no good.

    Tan, Edamame, is actually fresh soybeans, so you can probably find them in used in some form(tofu, soy sauce, etc) in just about any asian food, but I’m not sure if anyone else eats them fresh.

    Thanks Mikky:-)

    Manggy, hahhah yes “grey” is the perfect way to describe bad beef:-) I actually lucked out and found kiriotoshi from wagyu beef, so this was a bit of a luxurious gyudon.

    Thanks Jesse, lol “yoshinoya-ed” I’ll have to remember that one.

    Heza-san, yesu I riku supai-shi shinguzu bery mu-chi.

    Terry B, I tend to like boneless beef short ribs for this because they have a much higher fat content, but flank steak should do nicely as well if you want something leaner.

    Darius, it’s probably one of the simplest dishes to make.

    Tartelette, it may look good, but you should smell it, the combo of the onions, beef and soysauce is irresistable.

    Thanks Nilmandra, to be totally honest, the addition of the edmame was mainly for the photo, but it actually tasted pretty good so I left it in the recipe.

    Thanks Kevin!

    Su-Lin, gyudon is also great with a with a little bok choy or gai lan.

    Thanks gaga:-)

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com/ [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    I love your gyudon, especially with those edamame.

    I tried Yoshinoya once, a couple of years ago when I was in LA. It wasn’t a special trip or some such: I just needed something to eat really quickly for lunch. I don’t know if mine was a typical experience or not, but I thought it was a sorry bowl of rice. It *is* _fast food_ and it definitely tasted like _fast food_.

  • http://www.eatingclubvancouver.com [eatingclub] vancouver || js

    I love your gyudon, especially with those edamame.

    I tried Yoshinoya once, a couple of years ago when I was in LA. It wasn’t a special trip or some such: I just needed something to eat really quickly for lunch. I don’t know if mine was a typical experience or not, but I thought it was a sorry bowl of rice. It *is* _fast food_ and it definitely tasted like _fast food_.

  • http://whiteonricecouple.com/ White On Rice Couple

    *hiding under the table*, My family used to get Yoshinoya all the time because that was our first introduction to Japanese food. But that was waaaaaay back when for an immigrant family.
    Now I can make authentic Gyudon (wow, that’s what you call it!) and share it with my parents! They looooooove Japanese beef bowl!

  • http://whiteonricecouple.com White On Rice Couple

    *hiding under the table*, My family used to get Yoshinoya all the time because that was our first introduction to Japanese food. But that was waaaaaay back when for an immigrant family.
    Now I can make authentic Gyudon (wow, that’s what you call it!) and share it with my parents! They looooooove Japanese beef bowl!

  • http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/smilestreet/ Dan-na

    this is the perfect. check it out!
    http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/smilestreet/28768509.html

    thank you!

    Dan-na

  • http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/smilestreet/ Dan-na

    this is the perfect. check it out!
    http://blogs.yahoo.co.jp/smilestreet/28768509.html

    thank you!

    Dan-na

  • http://www.openkyoto.com/ KyotoFoodieのPeko

    This is great. However, don’t you have a Marcらしい niku jyaga
    (no)recipe? I am looking for one. I would be really interested in your take on the venerable (venerabo) niku jyaga.

  • http://www.openkyoto.com KyotoFoodieのPeko

    This is great. However, don’t you have a Marcらしい niku jyaga
    (no)recipe? I am looking for one. I would be really interested in your take on the venerable (venerabo) niku jyaga.

  • http://twobytwofood.blogspot.com/ Anne Parsons

    I made this with a slight variation and made a light gravy from the pan sauces thickened with a bit of cornstarch… in fact, I served it last night for Chinese New Years and it was great :) Loved the way it looked so colourful on the serving platter. Thanks for the recipe!

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  • seasaltjunky

    I think this is supposed to be made with dashi for a more authentic flavor

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      I prefer not adding dashi as it waters down the sauce. If you want a more
      soupy sauce feel free to add dashi. As for authenticity, this is how my
      family makes it. Since beef wasn’t used much in japan before the war, I’m
      not sure you can call any gyudon recipe “authentic” japanese food.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brdhz Billy Hernaez

    question! does the beef cook quick because its thin? or should it be a little bit “soft” since it can be eaten slightly raw. what do you think?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      Gyudon is just one of those dishes that’s cooked until the meat is well done. It gives the chance for the juices and sauce to thicken into a glaze. That said, I’m all about experimenting with food, so if you want to give it a try cooking it a little less, give it a go and let us know how it turned out.

  • Lily M

    I was wondering how many this recipe feeds, is it only for one person?

    • http://norecipes.com Marc Matsumoto

      This should feed 2 people, unless you’re very hungry.

  • Lily M

    This was awesome, even for someone as bad at cooking as I am it turned out great and delicious!

  • Yoy

    there is no sugar needed??thanks…

    • guest

      The mirin and sake give it sweetness, no sugar needed in my opinion. ^_^

  • cas

    Instead of edamame, I recommend adding a slow cooked egg on top and sprinkle some green onion ends over it. So great :)

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