In Tokyo – there are Yoshinoya stores everywhere. There’s also the competing brand, Matsuya all over too. Every time I wanted to go in and try it, well – my Panget will discourage me. I remember friends saying that the Yoshinoya beef bowl tastes so much better in Japan than in Manila (obviously). But last year, I managed to buy a Yoshinoya beef bowl for take away when i saw a take away counter near the Gina subway station. While my Panget did something, I ran to the booth and ordered. Their service was quite fast and I was really happy about it. I was smiling like crazy as I walked to him showing him my purchase. He then told me to try it right there and then, I guess he was curious too! So we ate it, standing outside the station while the kids sat on their strollers. Hahaha! The verdict? Well, it’s a very simple, affordable dish that is filling. It serves its purpose, it’s not the best but it’s good enough to satisfy a hungry tummy. Don’t ask me how much it costs because I forgot it already, but I remember it being affordable enough. My friend Cai – told me a few times that she kept on looking for dashi in Japanese groceries, but they seem to always run out of it. It never crossed my mind to buy one during my trips to Japan. It was only when I saw a friend’s IG feed that she was in Japan that I thought of asking her to buy one, (thank you Leslie!) An Instagram friend, Grace, was instrumental to my Japanese condiments purchases, I ask her what to get and which brands to pick, thank you Grace!
Anyways, I saw a video on my FB feed making Gyudon (Beef bowl), I watched it and saw that I have all the condiments needed so I saved it. Then last weekend, while on a supermarket run, I saw a pack of sukiyaki beef, I grabbed it and told myself I’d finally make the gyudon following the video I saw for Just One Cookbook. It took me a few days before I finally pushed myself to make it. And here it is!!
I didn’t follow the recipe to a T, so these below are just my *adjustments* to the recipe that I saw. 1/2 Cup of Dashi (mine was granules, so I just put it in water. As for the measurement, well, I think I went a little overboard with the ratio – I used 1 tablespoon of Dashi granules to the 1/2 cup water. I initially thought it was too much so I added another 1/4 cup water) 1 Tablespoon Sake (what I used is Cooking Sake) 2 Tablespoons Mirin 1 Tablespoon Sugar (I used white sugar) 2 Tablespoons Kikoman (it said Soy Sauce but our usual soy sauce is different kasi) 1 large Onion thinly sliced (well it will depend on what you prefer) 400 grams Sukiyaki Ribeye – Boil the dashi in a pan, then add the sake, mirin, sugar and Kikoman. – Cook the onions and wait for it to soften – When you deem its soft enough, add the sukiyaki ribye, wait for it to cook (which is quite fast) – Let it simmer for a few minutes and VOILA! Done! If you noticed, there was not salt added to the recipe. I was confident because I knew the Kikoman would do the trick. I tasted the *sauce* and it was good enough for me, the aroma was wonderful too! Taste wise, it was good enough. But there will be changes that I will do on my next attempt, like: 1) Slice the beef in smaller strips. The sukiyaki cut was perfect, but the size of the slice was too big for a yoshinoya gyudon. So, next time – smaller strips. And maybe get a more fatty one. Hihi.. 2) I would add more Kikoman to taste – as my Panget said that he felt the taste disappeared when he ate the beef together with the rice. 3) I will not add another 1/4cup of water to dilute the dashi. Maybe there will be a difference in taste. So what did I learn from this cooking quest? Well, that it’s fairly easy to make gyudon, but you need to consider that you have all the ingredients with you like the sake, mirin and dashi. Missing one from these will for sure make the taste different. I learned that Dashi makes all the difference. I’ve never cooked with it before and I always thought there was something missing everytime I tasted my dish. DASHI was missing. Hahaha! I will now buy lots when I visit a Japanese grocery. Dashi is the secret. So, go find yourselves dashi!! Good luck!! Please do let me know what tweaks you’ve made when you tried this recipe. I’d want to try them.