Donburi is the food name for “rice bowl” in Japanese. That’s the base for this typical Japanese dish. Though, the variations, restaurants, and food chains that offer donburi style food goes as far as the cook can create. Most of the plates have the name of the main ingredient plus “don” in the end, the word for bowl, and even vary from region to region. My favorite from the list of basic Donburi, the Katsudon. Do you have any favorite? or any other recommendation to add? Let me know by leaving a comment in the section below.

Ticket Machine

Ticket machine at the entrance of a restaurant.

Before the meal
At many chain restaurants in Japan, before taking a seat, customers have to deal with the ticket machine. This machine has all the options from the restaurant menu. The most advanced have digital screens that allow to see the menu options, translation and pictures of the food. Worst case scenario, the machine is a long list of unreadable characters (if you don’t read Japanese). If that’s the case, and you’re not nitpicking with the result, try your food luck.


Wall menu at Sutameshi branch restaurant in Tokyo.

Important notice: The following images content might make you crave for Japanese food.

The common donburi
Amongst the most popular and common rice bowls ingredients. Pork, beef, chicken, egg, and spring onion. The combination of this ingredients make the basics of the donburi. Katsudon, with pork cutlet. Gyudon, with beef. Oyakodon, with chicken. Tendon, fried vegetables “Tenpura” and seafood.


Katsudon. Rice bowl topped with pork cutlet, onion and egg.


Sutadon. Fried pork topped with onion and egg.


Oyakodon. Chicken with egg.


Kaisendon. Varieties of raw fish and vegetables.


Tendon. Tenpura of vegetables and seafood.

Seasonal and fish
In every season appears a special plate. Unagidon, as stamina recover in summer. With mushrooms and sardines in autumn, amongst others. The fish plates vary from season to season as well. Shirasudon, popular on coast line, it’s a bowl topped with small fish.

Maguro tataki

Maguro tataki. Bowl of rice topped with tuna


Unagidon. Rice topped with eel, specially during summer.

The uncommon
The list goes as far as imagination. I tried many varieties during my travels. Spicy, with different sauces, hamburgers, raw vegetables or any fried food. I have even created my own recipes at home, the Hypedon, with brown rice and high protein content, for those days I do work out at the gym.

Cheese gyudon

Triple cheese don, with Tabasco, from Sukiya.

Kimchi sutadon

Spicest I’ve ever tried, with Korean kimchi.

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