May 15, 2010

Review: Yoshinoya - Beef Bowl

Yoshinoya Beef Bowl with lid

Yoshinoya is a Japan-based fast food chain started in 1899 that made it's way to the States in 1979 with locations mostly in California. Their main dish is the "gyudon" or "beef bowl" and indeed their logo features a bull. In addition to beef bowls, they also have chicken teriyaki bowls, grilled shrimp bowls, and recently added Korean-style BBQ meats to their menu.

Yoshinoya's Beef Bowl features thin slices of USDA choice beef simmered with onions in a special sauce of herbs and spices served on a bed of steamed white rice. From my experience, the beef and onions is usually slow-simmered in a mirin (sweet rice vinegar) and soy sauce based broth as well as some bonito (fish) flakes or dashi (seaweed based) giving it a distinctive taste that I only associated with Japanese beef bowls. It costs $4.57 for a large bowl. A large bowl is at least a pound of food.

Yoshinoya Beef Bowl

Yoshinoya makes as good a beef bowl as any other Japanese restaurants that I've been to that actually serve it (not many do). The beef has a good slightly vinegary, soy flavor and is fairly tender and quite thin, add the tendon and there's quite a bit of texture to the beef. My friend once complained of getting really soggy rice but I've never had that problem.

Yoshinoya Beef Bowl closeup

Yoshinoya provides red pepper and soy sauce on the side. You can also get benishoga (pickled red ginger). Some people say it tastes better in Japan, but having actually been to Japan, I think it tastes pretty much the same and that's not a bad thing. You do get the traditional miso soup with the bowl in Japan though.

Nutritional Info - Yoshinoya Beef Bowl - Large (610g)
Calories - 1040 (from Fat - 340)
Fat - 38g (Saturated Fat - 17g)
Sodium - 1870mg
Carbs - 131g (Sugar - 8g)
Protein - 43g


  1. Yoshinoya has some good stuff. The steamed egg cup is also pretty good! In Taiwan you can get a side of kimchi to go with the beef bowl

  2. I used to get soggy rice due to asking for "more sauce" to the bowl. It's interesting how the same product can look so different! Your bowl looks smaller than the one I took months ago even though by then, they did make the bowls smaller than they used to be.

  3. @EatTravelEat: Really? It looked the same as I remembered it in high school but memories does play tricks sometimes.

  4. Looks good and reads as if the stuff might be yummy.

    For those having to reduce carb intake just eat a small amount of the rice and save some for later eating, I suppose.

    For those such as I who "pad" their diet with vegetables ultra-low in carbs I wonder who will concoct a dish swarming with low-carb fare with ample veggies?

    Maybe it could be labeled "Rose Bowl" if a few flowers were added as garnish and to increase visual appeal!!!


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