Hearty bowls of rice

All Japanese, regardless of their age or social origins, like to consume at least once a week a dish of don buri (丼) Where -Don for the abbreviated version. True comfort food (comfort food in English) in the land of the rising sun, this large bowl of garnished rice really knows how to make your mouth water while keeping the delicacy so befitting of Japanese cuisine.

The recipe is simple and very effective: good plain Japanese rice is accompanied by a garnish just as tasty and varied: sautéed beef, breaded pork, vegetable fritters or appetizing slices of fish 🐟 believed. A dish of don buri taste like this hot or cold depending on the ingredients added.

In the Japanese language, we distinguish the expressions:

  • donburi-bachi (丼鉢) which refers to the bowl itself;
  • and donburi-mono (丼物) which refers to the cooked dish.

An invention of Buddhist monks

The origins of don buri date back to the Muromachi period (1336 – 1573) and the vegetarian cuisine developed in temples Buddhists in Japan. One dish specifically refers to it: baptized hohan (芳飯), it is then a bowl of rice with vegetables and on which is poured a hot broth equivalent to a miso soup.

The version we know today appeared much later, at the end of the Edo period (1603 – 1867) when trade around the feudal capital was in full swing. In order to keep grilled eel skewers hot for his customers, a restaurateur had the idea of ​​serving them placed on a bowl of hot rice, the whole closed by a lid. the first don buri modern eel was born. Good and easy to take away, this dish quickly became popular, especially with the public who attend long traditional theater performances and who can thus eat hot for a long time.

With the opening to the West under the Meiji era (1868 – 1912), new eating habits were adopted by society, which ate more meat. The don buri with chicken and pork are emerging and are consumed quickly at noon by the workers. Bowls of rice with raw fish will be among the last typical dishes to be invented, as knowledge grows to guarantee the freshness of fish products over a longer period of time.

The most popular Japanese bowls

Throughout the archipelago, we find the same types of don buri acclaimed by the population. There are of course regional variations but they remain more minor compared to certain other dishes of Japanese cuisine which are endlessly available such as ramen 🍜.

Unadon with eel

First recipe to have been invented, the don buri with baptized eel unadon (うな丼) is undoubtedly a a staple of Japanese rice bowls. The filling consists of a generous portion of style lacquered eel fillets kabayaki and grilled over a wood fire. The quality of the fish determines the price of this dish, which can vary between ¥1,500 (~€10.56) and ¥5,000 (~€35.21); which is quite expensive for a don buri. The historic town center of Narita, for example, is home to several traditional restaurants specializing in eel dishes. unagi.

Breaded Pork Katsudon

For the katsudon (カツ丼), a breaded pork cutlet cut into strips and surrounded by a light omelette with onion is placed on the rice. donburi particularly satiating and greedy, it is well suited to people with a good appetite.

Butadon with caramelized pork

On its bed of plain rice, the butadon (豚丼) offers to thin slices of lightly caramelized pork in soy sauce (shoyu) sometimes with onion and a little ginger. This inexpensive meat dish goes well in summer with a beer 🍺 very fresh Japanese.

Beef gyudon

One of the don buri the most classic, gyudon (牛丼) means the bowl of rice topped with beef minced and cooked the way sukiyaki. The excellence of the dish and therefore its price varies according to the quality of the meat which can go as far as tender beef wagyu. It is commonly found served in Japanese fast food chains like Yoshinoya, Matsuya or Sukiya for the most widespread.

Oyakodon with chicken and egg

L’oyakodon (親子丼) consists of rice and a few pieces of egg white chicken returned in a frying pan withonion cooked, aromatics andbeaten egg runny omelet style. Regressive dish and appreciated by the youngest, its name literally means the “don buri children and parentswhich are symbolized by the egg and chicken meat respectively.

Donburi Tendon (rice and tempura fritters)

Tendon with tempura

the tendon (天丼) refers to a don buri surmounted by fried seafood and vegetables tempura 🍤. Very often, these are fritters of shrimp, eggplant, beans, mushrooms, shiso leaves and, depending on the season, slices of pumpkin or sweet potato. 🍠 can also be served.

This dish is usually served à la carte restaurants tempura or Japanese noodles (soba and udon). Its price varies on average between ¥1,000 (~€7.04) and ¥3,000 (~€21.13) depending on the reputation of the establishment, the quantity and quality of the ingredients used. You have to look in the small rural and port towns, which generally have very good addresses, to taste a tendon at an attractive price.

Kaisendon topped with sashimi

the kaisendon (海鮮丼) denotes a bowl of rice topped with sashimi raw fish of different varieties. Most often, we find salmon, tuna, amberjack, mackerel, shrimp and sometimes mashed tuna seasoned with a little ginger and wasabi complete the set. This don buri is highly recommended for sushi lovers 🍣 who find here a varied and rather inexpensive dish. We can cite the chain don maru (丼丸) which offers very good value for money for a small kaisendon from ¥500 (~€3.52).

Visually very beautiful and appetizing with all its varied colors and textures, the kaisendon is eaten according to a general rule that we start with the least flavorful fish and shellfish, that is to say those with white flesh. Season raw fish with soy sauce that we pour directly on the bowl or that we have in a cup next to it, then dip each slice one by one.

Maguro-don with tuna

Derived from kaisendonthe maguro-don (まぐろ丼) offers only one type of fish, namely the tuna maguro, which can itself come in several kinds depending on its cut and therefore its fat content. We thus find placed on the rice slices of bluefin tuna called akami, until sashimi the most unctuous of light pink color baptized otoro.

When raw tuna is marinated, for example in soy sauce and mirinthe don buri is baptized maguro-zuke-don (まぐろ漬け丼).

Ikura-don with fish eggs

In the same genre, the ikura-don (いくら丼) offers rice covered with fish eggs, of which the most consumed in Japan are those of salmon or mackerel. This dish is often found served very fresh in restaurants in coastal villages, not far from a local fishing port.

Chinese-inspired Chukadon

the chukadon (中華丼) goes beyond the borders of the archipelago and is inspired by Chinese cuisine with rice, different sautéed vegetables (cabbage, bamboo shoot, mushrooms and onions) garnished with meat and small shrimp.

The variations of don buri the most international are generally found on the menu of restaurants in the capital, which regularly try new adaptations. One can for example be tempted by a foie-gras-don where a thick, pan-fried slice of liver is placed on rice, or at a hearty kebab-don.

Menu Donburi Geta-don (rice and minced sole with vegetables) with miso soup

A complete and unique dish on the menu

There are ready-to-eat filled rice bowls all over Japan : whether at konbini in bento box 🍱in the supermarketsat the take-out counter ofspecialized stalls or on the menu of a TV channel fast food or a traditional restaurant.

The first prizes begin average ¥500 (~€3.52) for a classic meat bowl, standard size. The don buri with fish have a higher base price, around ¥1,000 (~€7.04).

the don buri is often served in restaurants as part of a menu, simply accompanied by a small miso soup and a few condiments tsukemono. Complete and hearty, the bowl that we eat with a spoon is sufficient unto itself. We can sometimes play on the amount of rice and choose from the following indications concerning the size of the desired portion:

  • shou (小) or sukuname (少なめ) for a small amount;
  • nami (並), futsû (普通) or chû (中) for a normal amount;
  • dai (大), ōmori (大盛り) or ome (多め) for a large amount;
  • and tokumori (特盛) or tokudai (特大) for a very large amount.

The normal size is generally sufficient, even for a tourist who walks a lot during a day of sightseeing.

Simple to make, the don buri is also often cooked at home, including sautéing leftover meat and vegetables as a garnish for rice. It is easily exported beyond the borders of the archipelago because the basic ingredients such as Japanese rice and the sauces to season the garnish such as shoyuthe mirin or even the dashi are common on the Asian shelves of grocery stores. It is therefore quite possible to invent your own recipe that will recall the flavors of Japan.

Menu Donburi Oyakodon (rice, omelette and chicken) with miso soup 3


In Japanese Transcription Meaning
donburi Bowl of rice with garnish
丼鉢 Donburi-bachi The bowl of don buri (the object as such)
丼物 Donburi-mono The cooked dish of don buri (the content as such)
カツ丼 Katsudon donburi with breaded pork, omelet and onions
豚丼 Butadon donburi with thin slices of pork
牛丼 Gyudon donburi with thin slices of beef
>天丼 Tendon donburi donuts tempura
親子丼 oyakodon donburi with chicken, omelet and onions
うな丼 unadon donburi with eel
海鮮丼 Kaisendon donburi with shellfish and slices of raw fish
まぐろ丼 Magurodon donburi bluefin tuna only

Leave a Comment