Tendon and Unadon

Tendon and Unadon

Donburi (丼 , literally “bowl”, also frequently abbreviated as “don”, thus less commonly spelled “domburi”) is a Japanese “rice bowl dish” consisting of fish, meat, vegetables or other ingredients simmered together and served over rice.

Donburi meals are served in oversized rice bowls also called donburi. Donburi are sometimes called sweetened or savoury stews on rice.

The simmering sauce varies according to season, ingredients, region, and taste. A typical sauce might consist of dashi flavoured with soy sauce and mirin. Proportions vary, but there is normally three to four times as much dashi as soy sauce and mirin. For oyakodon, Tsuji (1980) recommends dashi flavoured with light soy sauce, dark soy sauce, and sugar. For gyūdon, Tsuji recommends water flavoured with dark soy sauce and mirin.

Varieties of Donburi

Traditional Japanese donburi include the following:

  • Gyūdon (牛丼)  – Beef and onion on rice.
  • Tendon  (天丼)  –  Tempura shrimp and vegetables on rice.
  • Unadon  (鰻丼)  –  Unagi kabayaki (grilled eel) on rice.
  • Tamagodon  (玉子丼)  –  A scrambled egg mixed with sweet donburi sauce on rice.
  • Oyakodon (親子丼) – Simmered chicken, egg and onion on rice.
  • Katsudon (カツ丼) – Crumbed deep-fried pork cutlets (tonkatsu), onion, and egg on rice.
  • Tekkadon  (鉄火丼)  –  Thin-sliced raw tuna over rice. Spicy tekkadon is made with what can be a mix of spicy ingredients, a spicy orange sauce, or both (usually incorporates spring onions).
  • Hokkadon  –  Thin-sliced raw salmon over rice.
  • Negitorodon  (ネギトロ丼)  –  Diced toro (fatty tuna) and negi (spring onions) on rice.
  • Tenshindon or Tenshin-han (天津丼 / 天津飯) – A Chinese-Japanese specialty, consisting of a crabmeat omelette on rice; this dish is named for Tianjin, China.
Gyūdon beef bowl

Gyūdon beef bowl

Donburi can be made from almost any ingredients, including left-overs. Inexpensive Chinese restaurants in Japan often serve chūkadon  (中華丼)  or gomoku-chukadon  (五目中華丼)  —  stir-fried assorted vegetables with some meat over rice in a big bowl.

Not traditionally Japanese or Chinese, the hybrid dish indicates the popularity of donburi in Japan.

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