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Donburi = Don (丼)

Donburi is basically a large bowl of rice topped with a mixture of cooked and fresh vegetables, and meat or fish in a surprising, and delicious, number of variations.
Ingredients are simmered in a sauce. The sauce varies seasonally, regionally within Japan, and also (of course) according to the individual cook’s taste.


A real signature donburi, this one. The name, oyako (literally, “parent-and-child”) donburi is a virtual summing-up in one of the Japanese sense of humour:  caustic, straight-facedly matter-of-fact and, at the same time, pitying. The main ingredients: chicken and egg. The chicken, egg, green onion and other ingredients are all simmered together in a sauce, and then served over rice. Delicious and simple.



Trapped in the cycle of “examination hell” (juken jigoku), a tradition of Japanese students about to sit a major test or a school entrance exam is to eat katsudon the night before; (katsu, for the dish, refers to the deep-fried pork cutlet, but katsu – the sound – also means “to win” or “be victorious”). Whatever, the breadcrumbed cutlet and egg combination, with rice, is real comfort food – either before, or after a test.




A particularly delicious dish, with a filleted, grilled eel, slathered in a sweet shoyu-based sauce, over the top of rice. What appear to us as mere degustationary quibbles are major national sticking points in Japan: in the Kanto region, the eel is grilled first, and then sauced; in the Kansai region, the other way around. However, with a nation of such sensitive gourmands, devoted to the order and preparation of food, this should come as no surprise.




A somewhat similar idea to tempura served over noodles (I mentioned this in the section about different types of Japanese noodles). This is tempura prawns, and vegetables, served over rice. Delicious. No more need be added.

About Japanese Restaurant Guide

We admire the effort and the confidence of the Japanese restaurants here in New Zealand. We also look forward to the new styles of food and the creations they will come up with as they continue to progress individually, and as they blend these elements with New Zealand cooking culture.

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