Beef Bowl | 牛丼
Origin - Japan
Beef Bowl is a popular rice bowl dish consisting of beef and onion served over a bowl of steamed rice. The thinly sliced beef and onions are simmered in a sweet and savory dashi broth which is a mixture of soy sauce, mirin, sugar, and sake.
There are many chain restaurants specializing in beef bowl, where the use of cheaper beef cuts helped lower the cost and attracted a lot of students or tourists on a budget; ultimately sky-rocketing the success of the dish.
[ Fun Fact ]
There are restaurants that allow customers to specify how much broth their beef bowl is served with. There are options such as tsuyudaku (extra broth) or tsuyudakudaku (dripping with soupiness). The origin of tsuyudaku comes Japanese salarymen who had no time on their morning commute to work, so they asked their beef bowl to be soupy, which allowed them to slurp the dish and quickly finish eating.
[ History ]
Through the influence of the Meiji Restoration, western customs such as eating beef spread throughout Japan. Beef bowl is said to have come from Sukiyaki-don where thin slices of beef are cooked with vegetables in a hot pot and served with a side of steamed rice. From the 1920’s, the use of cheap cuts of beef, and the popularity of beef being sold from street stands in Asakusa, contributed to the early popularity of the dish.
Beef bowl can be found in many restaurants in Japan where some restaurants specializing in the dish. The largest three chain restaurants are Sukiya, Yoshinoya, and Matsuya. Most beef bowl restaurants operate for 24 hours and have two methods of ordering food; either a staff member takes your order or the meal is paid for in advance at a nearby vending machine!
Thanks to Yoshinoya, one of the largest beef bowl chain restaurants in Japan, the popular Japanese beef bowl is enjoyed by many people throughout the world!
[ How to Eat ]Some restaurants will always have a station where you can add shichimi (mixture of seven Japanese spices) which will add layers of flavor and beni shoga (pickled red ginger) for a refreshing palette cleanser.
It is recommended to add both condiments to your beef bowl but the amount is entirely up to you!