Donburi is a Japanese rice bowl dish that consists of rice topped with fish, meat, and vegetables that are cooked together. To add flavor, this is usually served with a simmering sauce. Contained in oversized bowls, donburi dishes can come with different toppings, making each dish extra special and more delicious.

In most cases, dashi, mirin, and soy sauce are added to the simmering sauce in order to enhance the flavor. Their proportions can differ, but the quantity of dashi is normally four times more than other ingredients. The overall process of simmering the sauce is determined by the following factors:

  • season: spring, summer, fall, and winter
  • ingredients: either sea foods or those that are harvested from the farm
  • regions: from Hokkaido to Okinawa
  • taste: ranging from sweet to umami

Depending upon the ingredients used, traditional donburi are the following:

Name of Donburi Dish Ingredients
Chūkadon (Chinese rice bowl)
  • consisting of bowls of rice with stir-fried onions, vegetables, mushrooms, and thinly-sliced meat on top
  • similar to the chopsuey dish that is sold at low-cost Chinese restaurants in Japan
  • rice with broth from soy-sauced simmered beef and onion
  • raw salmon, thinly-sliced, topped over rice
  • seasoned ikura (salmon roe) on rice
  • sashimi, thinly-sliced, on rice
  • rice topped with thickened curry-flavored dashi
  • derived from curry nanban or curry udon
  • rice topped with simmered onions, deep-fried pork (tonkatsu) binded by egg
  • this donburi may vary in different regions of Japan
  • similar to oyakodon, but uses thin sliced kamaboko pieces instead of chicken meat
  • diced toro (fatty tuna) and spring onions on rice
  • simmered and egg dropped chicken and onion on rice
  • rice topped with scrambled egg combined with sweet donburi sauce
  • topped on rice are thinly-sliced raw tuna
  • tempura on rice
Tenshindon or Tenshin-han
  • crabmeat omelets on rice
  • simmered tempura with egg topped on rice
  • grilled eel (unagikabayaki) on rice


The above variants only prove that donburi can be made from any ingredient, including left-overs. Have you tasted donburi before? If so, then what is your favorite variant?

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