Gyudon with Kimchi and Onsen Tamago

Donburi is a Japanese rice bowl dish. Hot steaming rice is place in the bowl topped with fish, meat, or vegetables. The flavorful meat and vegetable juices are absorbed into the rice making it all the more tasty. The toppings need not be fancy. In fact, a simple soft cooked egg drizzled with soy sauce makes a very tasty topping.

Beef donburi also known as Gyudon is very popular in Japan. You can find this fast and inexpensive dish at chain stores across the country. The beef is typically cooked with onions, soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar giving it a sweet and salty flavor. Egg is commonly added. Beni shoga (pickled red ginger) and shichimi togarashi (seven flavor chili pepper) are good accompaniments. A bowl of miso soup completes the meal.

When I was a kid, Mom often made half boiled (soft cooked) eggs for breakfast. These were very soft eggs with runny whites and yolks. Fresh brown eggs were placed in a large enamel mug and boiling water poured over to cover the eggs. The lid was placed on the mug and the eggs sat in the hot water bath for 5 to 6 minutes. As soon as the timer went off, the water was drained and the eggs cracked into individual serving bowls. They were then seasoned with a little soy sauce and pepper and served immediately with toast. I remember eating this quite often until I eventually outgrew it. Please note that 5 to 6 minutes may be sufficient in the tropics but over here where it is much cooler, the eggs need to sit for 8 to 9 minutes.

Onsen tamago (hot spring eggs), on the other hand, have firmer egg whites and yolks but they are still soft and creamy. Originally these eggs are slow cooked in baskets lowered into the hot springs. As the temperature in the hot springs is more or less constant, only the timing need to be monitored. Making these at home can be a little tricky as the temperature and timing has to be just right. There are various methods but the easiest and fastest is to use the same method as soft cooked eggs by increasing the time to 11 or 12 minutes instead. The egg in the pictures was a little soft as the water did cool slightly with the lid off while I took pictures. :(

The spicy kimchi is a nice counterpoint to the beef and egg. I used store bought Napa cabbage kimchi this time as it has been a while since I made my own. If you prefer homemade kimchi, do check out my Stuffed Oi Kimchi (Cucumber Kimchi) or Kkakdugi (Radish Kimchi).

Gyudon with Kimchi and Onsen Tamago
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 4 servings
  • 1 lb (450g) sirloin steak, thinly sliced
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup (60ml) soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
  • 2 tbsp sake
  • ¼ cup (60ml) water
  • ½ tsp hondashi
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 4 large eggs
Serve with
  • 4 cups cooked short grain rice (preferably hot and steaming)
  • 1 cup Napa cabbage kimchi
  • Slice green onions to garnish
  1. Bring eggs out of the refrigerator. Rinse with warm water from faucet and allow to sit for 10 to 15 minutes for them to come to room temperature. Mix together soy sauce, mirin, sake, hondashi, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
  2. Heat sesame oil in a large pan. Fry onions until soft, about 2 minutes. Add beef and fry for another 2 minutes. Pour in soy sauce mixture. When it comes to a boil, reduce heat and allow it to simmer for about 5 minutes. Skim off any scum appearing on the surface. Turn off heat.
  3. While beef is cooking, cook the eggs. Fill a medium sized saucepan with water enough to submerge eggs. Bring water to boil. Turn off heat and remove saucepan from hot stove. Gently lower eggs into hot water and place the lid on. Allow eggs to cook in hot water for 11 to 12 minutes. Drain.
  4. Divide cooked rice into 4 bowls. Pile cooked beef and kimchi onto rice. Crack one cooked egg into each bowl. Garnish with green onions and serve immediately.

Beef, kimchi, and egg should be piled neatly but separately on top of rice. Serve immediately with a bowl of miso soup.

Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day! 8)

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  1. says

    This looks delicious Biren! I love Kim chee, eggs and rice together, it’s such a comforting meal. I have to try cooking eggs this way, I normally just always fry it but I bet I would like this since I love soft boiled eggs.

    • Biren says

      It has been a while since I ate soft boiled eggs but I tried this a few times just to get the timing right and I must say that I really do like it. I have had more than my quota for tlast week and this week. Will have to wait a while before indulging again.

    • Biren says

      Nami, it will be fun if you live close by and we can cook together and sample each others’ dishes. Donburis are great and my boys love them especially katsudon. I think I need to make that next. 😉

  2. says

    Yum, I love donburi! Oyakodon is my favorite :) I haven’t had it in a while. Have you seen those special donburi ladles? I want to get one of those.

    • Biren says

      Oyakodon is very tasty. I like it too. Yes, I do have those ladles, plastic as well as wooden ones. I bought mine in Japan but I have seen it here. You will probably be able to find it at Daiso. Since you are in CA, you can try Japan Town when you visit San Francisco.

    • Biren says

      The weather is warming up very slowly here this year. Usually the heater is turned off by late March or early April. This year we had to leave it on as we had frost on Monday, 5/16! It is supposed to be nice and sunny this week….woohoo!

  3. says

    It’s interesting to see the word Onsen Tamago. I thought you bought the eggs from some hotspring resort. Hahaha! Both of us are fans of Japanese cuisine :) Love it!

    Biren, so sorry your comment on Mouth-watering Thai-style Seabass has disappeared together with my post. Don’t know what happened, but I’ve reposted the recipe. Sigh!

    • Biren says

      If only we have a hotspring resort here… I guess we are both fans of Japanese food. I also enjoy preparing them.

      Sorry to hear about your missing post. Must have happened when blogger was down for quite a while a few days back.

  4. says

    I love how you serve this Japanese dish with kimchi. You know we Koreans eat kimchi with everything – even spaghetti. Your gyudon looks delicious too.

  5. says

    I have always wanted to try this, your photos are a great help. I have never been able to eat jiggly eggs, but no problem I’ll just let it cook longer 😀 I do have some vintage egg cups that have a small end for hard boiled and turn it over to a larger cup for soft boiled eggs. I remember watching my mom dip her toast into it.

    • Biren says

      I have not had those “jiggly” eggs for a while and I was craving them. They really are quite delicious. I do like eggs but try to limit my intake because of the cholesterol.

      I would love to see your vintage cups. How fun that they can do double duty. :)

  6. says

    Hi Biren, your dish is so appealing with all the various components and I think the soft cooked egg for a sauce just makes it;-) I have never tried kimchi, now I’m curious!

  7. says

    Biren, My mouth is watering looking at that delicious bowl of Gyudon! I just visited my favorite Korean restaurant and had some delicious kimchi. It’s the only restaurant I’ve found in Colorado that makes it the way I like it….however, I don’t get out much!!lol Beautiful dish!

  8. says

    Your kimchi look so red! I can’t have it too hot. Just made a batch and is ready to be used. Medium hot! Japanese & Korean people are both eat very very healthy food. They seldom eat deep fried food especially the Korean, and that’s what make their skin so silky fair. Hope you’re having a great day.


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