Updated: January 10, 2018
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What Is Gyudon and 2 Easy Recipes You Should Try

Gyudon is a rice bowl dish topped with simmered beef and onions that is commonly eaten in Japan. It is absolutely great and also easy to make. Gyudon recipes usually require dashi (Japanese cooking broth) and sake (alcohol), but you probably don't have them. So, I'll introduce two recipes, one without dashi and the other without sake.

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Gyudon (牛丼), literally means beef bowl. It is a Japanese dish made of a bowl of rice topped with beef and onions simmered in a soy sauce flavored sauce. It has been very popular with all groups of people in Japan for over 100 years, especially after some fast food chain shops started to serve cheap gyudon. If you've been in Japan, you've probably seen Matsuya, Yoshinoya or Sukiya chain restaurants packed at all hours of the day or night. Mostly men go there. It's the kind of place where you can have a satisfying meal for less than 500 yen. The service is rapid too, so eating gyudon is quite convenient for the busy office worker.


Gyudon is a comfort food for the Japanese. It can be cooked at home easily in about 15 minutes using a few ingredients. There are thousands of recipes for the sauce, with or without sake, mirin (Japanese sweet rice wine), and dashi (cooking stock made from seaweed and fish). Today, I'll introduce two recipes, one without alcohol (sake and mirin), and the other without dashi. The process is the same, you just need different ingredients.

Ingredients (without sake)

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2 servings

- 1 onion
- 300g thinly sliced beef
- 1 tbsp oil
- 2 bowls of steamed rice
- Pickled red ginger (topping)

- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 100ml dashi stock

Ingredients (withoust dashi)

- 1 tbsp sake
- 2 tbsp mirin
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 2 tbsp soy sauce


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1. Slice onion thinly, and cut sliced beef into pieces.
2. Put all ingredients for the sauce into a pot and boil them
3. Add sliced onion and simmer for 2 minutes.
4. Add sliced beef and stir for a minute.
5. Cook them another 10 minutes over a low heat.
6. Prepare a bowl of rice and put the beef and sauce over it.
7. Top with pickled red ginger.
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Enjoy gyudon at your home!

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Gyudon is a quick, easy, and delicious dish. How about making it for today's lunch or dinner?


Cabbage Salad

So you've made your gyudon and it looks and tastes delicious, but what do you accompany it with? To make it a more balanced meal, the Japanese often accompany their gyudon with some cabbage salad. It's a very simple thing to add and it goes very well with the dish. The trick to make it a Japanese-looking salad is to cut it very finely. The Japanese call it "sengirikyabetu" or cabbage cut into thousands of pieces.
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So cut the cabbage as finely as possible and serve it on a plate such as this one. It looks really great and with a good dressing, will make the perfect accompaniment to your gyudon. As a dressing, try sesame-base one. If you have sesame oil, try mixing two parts oil with one part vinegar (rice vinegar if you have some) to make the dressing and add a pinch of salt or soy sauce.

Miso Soup

Another great thing to eat your gyudon with is the classic miso soup. It is almost always served with it at gyudon restaurants.
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Miso soup is made by mixing together miso paste and dashi. Then, tofu and green onions are added. There are some easy alternatives. It's often sold in packets in Japan and you can probably find those at an Asian or Japanese-specialised supermarket in your country.

Where to eat gyudon in Japan?

Gyudon is a popular fast food in Japan and you can eat everywhere at these chain shops!
I love traveling and eating. My favorites are everything matcha and cheesecakes.

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