Monday, December 01, 2014

Inexpensive Japanese Fast Food: Donburi Gyudon (Beef Rice Bowl)

This is a classic inexpensive recipe sold in fast food chains all over Japan. It is a favourite by everyone who wants a quick, hearty and economical meal. The simmered beef is a bit sweet in taste and placed on top of a bowl of steamed white rice.

On our first night in Tokyo, Dutchman and I just ate 7-Eleven food. A bit sad huh? We were so worn-out from the long travel that when we arrived at our hotel, we just dropped our baggage in the room and plunged straight to the comforts of the waiting bed. When we woke up late in the afternoon I was running a high fever and had the chills, plus I was barking a strange sounding cough. I begged off to go out for dinner, and since there was no room service at the (business) hotel we stayed at, Dutchman hit the nearest 7-Eleven store to buy our food for the evening.

The next day/night, I was still sick but had the resolution to go out for dinner. There are many restaurants located within 100-300 perimeter distance from our hotel in Chuo. We walked around a bit to survey the scene but inasmuch as I wanted to try the traditional Japanese restaurants, I couldn’t and we didn’t. Well at least not for that night. Most local restaurants we saw have wooden chairs and were begging the question--Why do they allow smoking indoors? Unfortunately this smoking phenomenon is still very much acceptable in Japan. With a sickly moi, I was not enamoured at all by all these. I also did not have any surgical mask on to protect myself, which later I purchased anyway because coughing in public without protection on will get you killer stares from the locals. I am not joking, they take this seriously. If looks could only kill.

After a few minutes strolling around Kodenmacho we found this fast food chain on the main road. It has a Japanese name of course which has by now totally escaped me. The restaurant chain has bright sanitary fluorescent lights, are equipped with soft comfortable sofas, and well, there was a ‘No Smoking’ sign on the door. Sounds like heaven to the sickly moi.

Japanese modern fast food restaurant. Each table has a buzzer to summon the wait staff (see that napkin holder). We only realised this when a local Japanese man in suit sat beside us and ordered his food by buzzing first. 

Donburi Gyudun, Miso Soup and some Cabbage side dish.

I have previously heard of Gyudun that they are mostly served as meals in fast food chains in Japan. True enough when I looked at the menu, which had our eyes glazing over for a moment because we could not understand a single word, er character I mean, I saw a picture of Donburi Gyudon. Ah, saved by the picture, hallelujah! I am just glad the Japanese are visual types who like posting pictures of dishes on their menus .

So we ordered two sets. Dutchman loved it and I was quite contented to eat it but could not wait to go back to our hotel room and dive again under the blanket and sleep.

This was our second day in Japan and I have not seen a single thing yet, except of course for the subway ride from Haneda Tokyo International Airport to the hotel and this evening’s little walk to the fast food chain for dinner. Uh, not a great start for our Tokyo trip =(

Travel Period: November 2014
Destination: Chuo (Tokyo), Japan

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