TRIPPERS TIP: Chow Down on Sukiya Gyudon Bowls

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By Benjamin Pratt | April 12, 2016

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Sukiya, the red-and-yellow hunger haven open 24/7, occupies a Japanese street corner. Photo via japantimes.co.jp

Sukiya made it possible for me to survive my first trip to Japan without going hungry or broke. It’s since been a go-to option for a cheap, easy and delicious breakfast, lunch, dinner or midnight snack. Just pretty much whenever I’m hungry. Since then I’ve eaten there enough to be dubbed the unofficial International Sukiya Ambassador, something I’m both proud and ashamed of.

They peddle gyudon, don-buri and curry – pretty much super cheap rice bowls, and as of recently, dishes including “vegetables”. Sure it’s basic and probably not all that healthy; just some Japanese franchised food, right? But it’s so much more than just a rice bowl, man; it’s a red-and-yellow beacon guiding your belly through the depths of starvation and the abyss of empty sidewalks 24 hours a day.

It’s a backpackers dream: huge bowls of food for the spare change in your pocket; free unlimited iced barley tea, with warm miso soup and fresh grilled gyoza for a few hundred extra yen. And the breakfast… oh, man, the breakfast! ¥210 for a bowl of rice, seaweed on the side, a raw egg (they provide a futuristic kitchen contraption which separates the yolk) and some miso soup. But my highly recommended all-time MVP dish is the signature beef bowl loaded with spring onions, egg yolk and cheese. Check out these brave souls who ordered all 7 toppings on the one bowl!

A Sukiya gyudon meal: rice, pork and onion with beneath cheese and spring onion, mixed with egg yolk. Miso soup to slurp down.

My typical Sukiya meal: rice, pork and onion buried beneath cheese and spring onion, mixed with egg yolk, and miso soup.

I’d always have to ask for the cheese, so depending on how well understood my basic Japanese was, I’d sometimes end up with two bowls: one with cheese and one with spring onion. But who cares, double the Sukiya!

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