5 Popular Japanese Egg Dishes, Including Overseas Favorites Like Omurice and Egg Sandwiches!
Japanese egg dishes like convenience store egg sandwiches and silky omurice (omelet rice) are the center of attention among travelers in Japan right now. There’s also been a surge of tourists coming to Japan aiming to try these. Here are some tasty Japanese egg dishes and restaurants where you can try them.
- Egg Dishes in Japan
- Omurice: A World-Renowned Dish
- Oyakodon: The Quintessential Japanese Rice Bowl
- Tamago Kake Gohan: A Uniquely Japanese Food
- Chawanmushi: A Traditional Japanese Dish that Looks a Lot Like a Dessert
- Atsuyaki Tamago Sandwich: An Unprecedented Hit
- Get Great Value on Your Purchases in Japan with d POINT!
Egg Dishes in Japan
The number of eggs a Japanese person consumes in a year is 329. That’s almost one egg a day! Japan ranks in at number three in the world for egg consumption. Unsurprisingly, this egg-crazed country has all kinds of egg-based dishes. These include omurice and oyakodon, which will be introduced later in this article, as well as nimono (stewed dishes) and tempura. By the way, my non-Japanese friends sometimes ask me, “Do Japanese people really eat raw egg?” We do! Actually, my favorite dish is called tamago kake gohan, which means raw egg over rice. You might find this hard to believe, but it’s really tasty! I’ll talk more about this dish later. Read on to find out about Japanese egg-based dishes.
Omurice: A World-Renowned Dish
“Omurice” usually refers to a dish in which rice is stir-fried with ketchup, wrapped in an egg omelet, and drizzled with more ketchup.
In recent years, a more evolved, light and fluffy version of omurice has appeared. In this version, an omelet that hasn’t been cooked all the way through is placed on top of the rice, and once cut into, the semi-cooked egg oozes over the rice. The type of sauce used also varies widely, from demi-glace to bechamel, and the dish is even popular with foreign tourists in Japan.
I have tried this kind of soft-boiled-egg omurice before, and that melt-in-the-mouth texture is unforgettable. I have tried to make it at home several times, but it never goes well... It’s definitely an art that takes the work of a master chef!
Watch this YouTube video of omurice being made at the super-famous restaurant Kichi Kichi for more details.
In addition to Kichi Kichi, there are many restaurants in Japan where you can eat this exquisite omurice. A highly recommended restaurant to try is Chapeau Rouge, which has establishments around the country and a wide selection of choices on the menu, such as beef stew omurice and cream sauce omurice.
Oyakodon: The Quintessential Japanese Rice Bowl
“Oyakodon” is a dish in which bite-size pieces of chicken are simmered in dashi (shiro-dashi stock or other stock made from bonito/kombu), soy sauce, mirin, etc. Then beaten egg is poured in and gently cooked, before being served over the top of rice. It goes without saying that the fluffy egg and chicken infused with dashi and other seasonings are a great match for rice. At the donburi (rice bowl) specialty restaurant Don Don Tei, you can try superb oyakodon with deep flavor imparted by the restaurant’s prized soy-sauce based broth.
Tamago Kake Gohan: A Uniquely Japanese Food
Eating raw egg seems to be an unusual custom in most countries, but here in Japan, there are many dishes that use raw eggs. The most iconic dish among them is “tamago kake gohan”. The name literally means “egg over rice” in Japanese, and as this suggests, it's raw egg poured over the top of rice, and is commonly eaten with soy sauce poured over as well. The level of sanitation when it comes to food in Japan is very high, so the risk of getting food poisoning from eating raw egg is extremely low. You may be thinking, “Is raw egg actually tasty?” Well, the rich taste and viscosity of the raw egg goes with rice and is simple yet delicious.
The appeal of tamago kake gohan is that it goes well with all kinds of ingredients, so you can customize the flavor to your liking. For example, you can eat it with common toppings in Japanese households, such as natto (fermented soybeans) like in the photo below, dried seaweed, and spring onions. It also goes well with things like cheese and butter. These bring out the sweetness of the egg, making it twice as delicious. Tamago kake gohan doesn’t take any effort, so it's often eaten as a light meal if you don’t have much time, like for breakfast.
At “Akasaka Umaya Uchi no Tamago Chokubaijo” at Haneda Airport, people who want to try tamago kake gohan can enjoy a version of the dish that uses domestically produced eggs that have been farmed with great care.
Chawanmushi: A Traditional Japanese Dish that Looks a Lot Like a Dessert
“Chawanmushi” is a dish in which eggs are steamed together with various seasonings such as dashi, salt, and light soy sauce. It's a richly colorful Japanese dish that uses a variety of ingredients such as shiitake mushrooms, bamboo shoots, shrimp, and ginkgo nuts. The appearance and texture of this dish resembles custard, but the flavor is something else. It's not sweet like a dessert custard. You’ll taste the delicious dashi flavor and gentle sweetness of egg.
I often eat this dish when I go out to eat sushi. The velvety texture and simple flavor make it just right for a palate cleanser. At Umi, a sushi restaurant in Roppongi, you can enjoy this somewhat decadent chawanmushi that uses fresh seafood.
Atsuyaki Tamago Sandwich: An Unprecedented Hit
An Atsuyaki Tamago (or "thick grilled egg") Sandwich consists of a Japanese rolled omelette, made by cooking egg mixed with dashi and seasonings in a special frying pan, sandwiched between slices of bread. This sandwich that originated in Kyoto has become popular throughout Japan.
The photo below shows the atsuyaki tamago sandwich on the menu at La Madrague, a cafe located in Kyoto. Doesn’t it just look incredible?! It takes an extravagant four eggs in order to get it this thick. The omelet is almost 10 cm thick, but it has an airy texture so it’s actually very light. It’s so tasty, you could keep on eating as much as you like.
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d POINT is a free point service operated by Japan’s largest telecommunications company, NTT DOCOMO, INC. This is a system in which you can earn points just by showing your d POINT CARD when ringing up the bill at d POINT Member Stores such as leading convenience store chains, McDonald's, cafes, and supermarkets.
Chapeau Rouge and Don Don Tei, introduced earlier in this article, are d POINT Member Stores. You can use 1 earned point as 1 yen, so if this sounds like an interesting offer to you, register as a member at the link below.
So, what do you think? Make sure you give these egg dishes a try when you visit Japan!
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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