The beauty of Japanese cuisine is in its wide variety of ingredients and cooking methods. The various ways of preparing the many different categories of ingredients combine to create healthy, nutritionally well-balanced meals. Here is an introduction to some of the principal categories of Japanese cuisine. Once the characteristics of each category are understood, Japanese cooking can be more fun and healthier.


Donburi / Donburi-mono

Enjoy a harmony of rice and toppings

"Don" or "don-mono" refers to a dish of rice in a bowl bigger than a typical "rice bowl" topped with something (okazu) such as cooked ingredients or fresh seafood.

Typical don dishes are "oyako-don" (chicken and steamed egg on rice), "gyuniku-don or gyu-don" (simmered beef on rice), "unagi-don" (grilled eel on rice), "tempura-don or ten-don" (tempura on rice), "maguro-don or tekka-don" (tuna sashimi on rice), "kaisen-chirashi-don" (sashimi on rice) and "chuka-don" (sautéed meat and vegetables on rice).

As you may know, rice is the staple food of Japan. A typical Japanese family meal consists of "gohan" (cooked rice), a soup such as miso-soup, and okazu dishes.

"Don-mono" is a dish with a harmonious combination of gohan and okazu served in one bowl. "Don" means a deep, heavy ceramic bowl. Don-mono was named after this bowl, bigger than a rice bowl, for this dish.

When eating don-mono, the tip is to make each bite equal amounts of gohan and okazu to savor the flavorful harmony of the okazu and its sauce with the rice.

related recipes

Rice with Chicken and Egg

439kcal / per person

The name oyako-don (parent & child on rice) comes from the ingredients of chicken (parent) and egg (child). Don means donburi (rice bowl).

Rice with Tuna and Tomato

311kcal / per person

Seafood bowl with raw seafood is one of the popular donburi dishes. This is a bowl using tuna and tomato.

related e cooking school techniques