Gyūdon is one of the most popular and inexpensive fast food dishes in Japan. Its name can be literally translated to beef bowl. The dish consists of beef and onions served over a bowl of rice. Beef and onions are cooked in a combination of mirin, sugar, sake, and soy sauce, imparting a salty-sweet flavor to the dish.


In the restaurants, known as gyūdon-ya, there is often pickled red ginger and red chili at the table, so anyone can season their dish according to personal preferences. The restaurants are often frequented by numerous hungry students who eat on a budget, and some of those restaurants are open 24 hours a day.

A beaten raw egg is sometimes stirred into the dish, while chopped green onions are a common garnish. Miso soup, salads, or kimchi are regular side dishes accompanying gyūdon. It is said that the first version of gyūdon stems from an old dish called gyūnabe, where thinly sliced beef is cooked with vegetables in a pot.

The first popular version of gyūdon appeared in 1862 in the Kantō region, and it has remained an inexpensive, yet nourishing and flavorful dish until today.

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