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Don’t miss these 4 Japanese donburi!

Don’t miss out on these 4 Japanese donburis! Explore the four most popular donburi dishes in Japan and master the art of making them at home.

What is a donburi?

A donburi is essentially a bowl of white rice adorned with various toppings, typically featuring meat, vegetables, or seafood. The term “don” (丼) pertains to the bowl in which the dish is served.

If you ever get the chance to visit Japan, you’ll find donburis ubiquitously available, and there are even restaurant chains exclusively dedicated to this delightful dish.

For us, donburi represents the perfect combination. It brings together rice, vegetables, meat, and sauce in a single bowl. The best part? My little one loves them!


A beloved choice for our weeknight dinners! This flavorful donburi features chicken and egg, making it incredibly easy to whip up and a regular addition to our weekly menu.

Its name, oyakodon (親子丼), can be translated as the “father and son rice bowl,” symbolizing its key ingredients—chicken (representing the father) and egg (representing the son).


Following oyakodon, the next contender is gyudon.

“Gyu” signifies beef, and “don” is a brief reference to donburi. As expected, gyudon involves a bowl of rice crowned with beef cooked in a gentle blend of soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar.

This widely adored dish in Japan is not only affordable but also speedy to make, uncomplicated in preparation, and, most importantly, irresistibly delicious. Its popularity is such that Japan boasts three specialized chains—Yoshinoya, Sukiya, and Matsuya—dedicated to offering gyudon 24/7.

Gyudon - a delicious Japanese beef and onion dish over rice - homemade gyudon recipe


For a comforting home meal, our go-to donburi is katsudon, featuring a breaded pork cutlet (tonkatsu) partnered with onions simmered in a savory umami-rich sauce. To elevate the dish, a beaten egg is introduced and cooked until partially set, resulting in a culinary delight!

Interestingly, katsudon is considered a dish for champions, as the Japanese verb “katsu” (勝つ), sharing the same pronunciation as the “katsu” (カツ) in the dish, means to win. Hence, it’s a tradition in Japan for students to indulge in katsudon the night before a significant exam, aiming to achieve victory.


Soborodon stands out as the most vibrant donburi with its delightful medley of minced beef, Japanese-style “scrambled” eggs, and edamame, creating a quick and flavorful dish.

This colorful donburi features a base of rice topped with minced beef cooked in a mild ginger sauce, along with the traditional addition of peas, which can be replaced with edamame or green beans for a personal touch. Similar to gyudon, Soborodon is an excellent choice for packing a delicious bento.

Soboro Donburi - a tasty Japanese dish with minced meat and egg over rice - homemade soboro bento recipe

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