2 November 2022

 5 Best Donburi Menus   

The ultimate one-plate(bowl, actually) meal loved by many people all around the world. A Donburi menu maybe one of the simplest ways to enjoy a Japanese style meal. Add miso soup or some pickled vegetables in a small plate and you've made yourself a Japanese style meal for one. 

We've chosen 5 best Donburi menus to introduce differing styles of Japanese Donburi menus and to show you which kind of Donburi bowl goes well with each menu.

We hope your enjoy bits of trivia about each Donburi menu, and tips on which Donburi bowl to use to showcase each delectably delicious dish.  


  • What's a "Donburi?"
  • Tendon
  • Gyudon
  • Katsudon
  • Oyakodon
  • Unadon
  • Donburi Versatility

What's a Donburi? 

First, some clarification regarding the term "Donburi."

The word "Donburi" can mean the actual bowl itself, and also the menu served in the bowl. But in this article, the actual bowls will be referred to as "Donburi bowls" and the dish itself as "Donburi menus."
So, a "Donburi menu" is prepared by topping hot rice with a main dish in a "Donburi bowl."

The general rule to naming a Donburi menu is to add a "don" (from Donburi) after an abbreviated name of the dish being served on top of the rice, like "Gyudon," combining the "gyu" from "gyuniku(Japanese word for beef)" with "don." 

Now, let's take a look at our list of 5 best Donburi menus! 

It's pretty safe to say that Tendon is the king of all Donburi menus. 

The history of tempura dates back to the Edo period when it was considered a street food in Edo(present-day Tokyo). Scenes of people eating tempura are often seen in ukiyoe paintings. The actual origin of Tendon is not clear, but references show that it already existed in 1837. So Tendon has been a part of Japanese food culture for quite some time now. 

Hot crispy tempura is dipped in a special sauce called "Don-tsuyu" and then topped on hot rice drizzled with the same sauce. Tendon is usually served in a Donburi bowl decorated in traditional patterns with a lid. You can see the appetizing pieces of tempura coated in the Don-tsuyu peeking out from the lid, waiting to be discovered. 

We used the small-sized Nishiki Peony Mino Ware Donburi Rice Bowl for our Tendon. The refined and detailed designs of the peonies and plums in multiple elegant colors are fitting for one of the oldest Donburi menus in Japan.  

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Maybe the most well-known Donburi menu on a global level.
In the 1970's, a well-known Gyudon franchise expanded their establishments and spread the concept of Gyudon as a hearty and delicious fast food meal

Also known as a "beef bowl," Gyudon is a Donburi menu where thin slices of beef and onions are stewed in a soy sauce based soup and then served on rice. 
The finishing touch to a Gyudon is red-colored pickled ginger called "Beni shoga." The ginger is a must-have on a Gyudon. The tanginess of the ginger adds accent to the soy sauce flavor of the beef.

Our "Gyudon" is served in a small-sized Tokusa Mino Ware Donburi Bowl. The vertical patterns in rustic colors match the color of the Gyudon with the "Beni shoga" as an accent in the center.  This bowl can also be used to serve Japanese noodles such as udon and soba. 

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A Donburi menu for winners!
That's what a Katsudon represents in Japan. The "katsu" is from "Tonkatsu" which is fried pork with a panko coating. The word "katsu" also means "to win" in Japanese. So to get that extra bit of good luck and good fortune, many people eat Katsudon before a big match or an important examination. 

Katsudon is made by first preparing Tonkatsu. The cut Tonkatsu and thinly sliced onions are stewed in a lightly-flavored soy sauce-based soup and then topped with beaten eggs.  

Katsudon can be served in a Donburi bowl with or without a lid. We plated our Katsudon in a medium-sized Hibino Blue Gradation Modern Mino Ware Bowl. The depth of the bowl makes it easy to spoon just the right amount of rice with a slice of Tonkatsu and onions cooked in the sauce.
With its chic blue color, this bowl can also be used for Japanese noodles and also for serving fruit or dessert. 

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A popular Donburi menu loved by people of all ages.
"Oyako" means parent and child in Japanese, thus the naming "Oyakodon" came about with the combination of chicken and eggs.  

An Oyakodon is prepared by cooking tender pieces of chicken and thin slices of onion in a light soup and then topped with beaten eggs. The charm of an Oyakodon is the yolk of the soft cooked eggs blending in with the flavored chicken and onions. The flavors of an Oyakodon are gentle and comforting, and easy on the stomach as the ingredients are not fried.   

Our Donburi bowl choice for Oyakodon is the Baizan Kiln Marunuki Tobe Donburi Bowl in a large size.
It is surprisingly light in weight for its size, and can hold about three bowls of rice. If you have a big eater in the house, this is the size to get.
Along with Japanese noodles, this bowl can also be used for ramen as well. 

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Unadon is short for "unagi" donburi. And Unagi is the Japanese word for eel. For some cultures, eel may not be considered as the best choice for a Donburi menu, but charcoal grilled unagi dipped in a deep rich soy sauce glaze over hot rice is a match made in heaven.

Unagi is known for its nutritional benefits containing high levels of vitamin A and B, and minerals such as zinc and calcium. Unadon is considered an energy-lifting menu and often eaten during the hot summer season. 

For the Unadon, we chose two different types of Donburi bowls. 
One is the medium-sized Cloth Pattern Yamanaka Lacquerware Donburi Bowl. The lacquerware bowl gives a fine-dining look to the Unadon and highlights the glossy glaze on the unagi. 

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Our other choice is the Nanpu Rain Mino Ware Donburi Bowl. This bowl has a casual feel and is a bit more versatile as it can be used for serving Japanese noodles and other stewed main dishes as well.

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Donburi Versatality  

Did your favorite Donburi menu make our list?

A Donburi menu is an easy way to enjoy Japanese food. Fairly easy to prepare and not very difficult to serve when you use a Donburi bowl. A beautiful Donburi bowl enhances the total presentation of a Donburi menu and can elevate the enjoyment of eating a Donburi menu. 
And as we introduced in this article, Donburi bowls come in various sizes and designs, and are very versatile. As a general guideline, if you are looking for a Donburi bowl to be used for dishes other than Japanese food, select a Donburi bowl that is around 8cm(3.1in) in depth and 15-19cm(6-7.5in) in diameter. If you often eat noodles, it's better to choose a bowl with a large diameter. If your preference is enjoying Donburi menus with rice, it is better to choose a bowl with more depth.

We offer a wide variety of Donburi bowls that can be used for dishes from Donburi menus to ramen. Take a look at our Donburi Bowl collection and find the bowl that is perfect for your next Donburi menu. 

View Donburi Bowl Collection