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: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Gyudon with Kimchi and Onsen Tamago


  • 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


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.

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.

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.

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)