If you think about typical Japanese food, you will probably first think of sushi or ramen noodles as they became staples in many Japanese restaurants abroad. Gyudon beef bowl is maybe not as famous as some other types of Japanese food, but it is definitely a must-try if you come to Japan and you like meat. Gyudon is beef and onions on top of rice with a sweet sauce and toppings like a raw egg, daikon radish, or pickles. It is often served with a side of miso soup.
Depending on your budget you can go for high-end gyudon with excellent wagyu and other superior ingredients. Or, if you just want to have a quick, cheap but still delicious meal, you can go to one of the famous gyudon chain restaurants. Yoshinoya is probably the most famous gyudon restaurant chain in Japan, and it is doing good business. It is the perfect spot for a quick meal by yourself as most seats are counter seats. Many Yoshinoya outlets are open 24 hours or at least from early morning to late in the evening.
Yoshinoya is usually filled with businessmen who don’t have a wife waiting at home with a prepared dinner. So some say it is Japan’s answer to fast-food chains like McDonald’s and Burger King. The cost of a filling meal is around 900 yen or even cheaper around lunchtime.
Young people who don’t have much money to spend also love to go to Yoshinoya, Matsuya, or Sukiya to get a quick beef bowl. When I was a university student, I went to Yoshinoya many times, 2 or 3 times a week. Besides gyudon they also offer other kinds of meals like Japanese-style curry rice, yakiniku, or teishoku set meals.
If you come to Japan, be sure to try a delicious bowl of gyudon!
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