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Gyudon is a Japanese beef bowl, and its name literally translates to
beef bowl. The bowl consists of rice covered with thin slices of beef and onion cooked in a savory sweet flavored sauce mixture made from soy sauce, dashi, and mirin. Gyudon is very popular in Japan for its cheap price and for being a filling, hearty meal. Gyudon is especially popular among businessmen who are the main customers of gyudon restaurants. The quick meal is perfect for a quick bite before going on a train or between business meetings.
More than restaurants, these gyudon stores are more like fast food. Yoshinoya is a popular gyudon fast food restaurant in Japan and outside of Japan, but Japan has several other competing chain gyudon places like Matsuya and Sukiya. These places allow you to customize your gyudon with toppings such as extra onions, raw egg, and amount of sauce you'd like in your bowl. Some locations even offer special edition beef bowls, like the Yoshinoya brances at the Tsukiji/Toyosu fish market. Although beef consumption in Japan happened much later than other parts of the world, Japan's gyudon have gained popularity in other places, such as the United States or Hong Kong.
You may have had a Yoshinoya beef bowl while in California, but to truly enjoy a beef bowl we recommend visiting a donburi restaurant while in Japan. Your tour guides can help you find the perfect restaurant close to your hotel, or let your travel agent know when booking you'd like to add a night at a gyudon restaurant to customize your vacation!
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