Donburi vs Don : What is the difference in meaning?

When you think of food containers unique to Japan, what comes to mind? As you know, we Japanese sometimes pack foods in a plastic box called “Bento-Bako (弁当箱)” to make it easy to carry them.

Above all, we are most familiar with ceramic bowls as steamed plain rice, the staple food of the Japanese, is served in the bowl. There are several types of Japanese ceramic bowls, but among those, “Donburi (丼)” is especially famous in the world.

The difference in meaning between Donburi, Don, Donburi-Mono, and Donburi-Bachi

Speaking of Donburi, have you ever heard that there are 3 Japanese terms associated with it? They are “Don (丼)”, “Donburi-Mono (丼物)”, and “Donburi-Bachi (丼鉢)”. Actually, these 4 Japanese words have partly the same meaning, so today let me explain the difference in specific meaning between them.

Donburi (丼) and Don (丼)

Donburi and Don mean the same thing. In other words, Don is the abbreviation for Donburi and typically used in the name of Japanese rice bowl dishes as a suffix, like “Katsu-Don (カツ丼)” and “Maguro-Don (マグロ丼)“.

Donburi-Mono (丼物)

There are 2 meanings in Donburi and Don. As you can guess from the above, Japanese rice dishes served in a thick bowl with depth are one, and “Donburi-Mono (丼物)” is the Japanese term for this meaning.

Donburi-Bachi (丼鉢)

The other meaning refers to the container itself, or thick Japanese food bowls with depth. The meaning of Donburi and Don includes Donburi-Mono, so in order to solely mean the bowl itself, we use the word “Donburi-Bachi (丼鉢)”.

Donburi-Bachi are traditionally ceramic bowls, but in modern times it is often made from plastic. Besides, although Donburi-Mono are Japanese rice dishes served in Donburi-Bachi, Donburi-Bachi isn’t only for Donburi-Mono.

Specifically, Donburi-Bachi refers to thick Japanese bowls with depth used for serving rice dishes (Donburi-Mono), soups, and noodle dishes (Ramen, Udon, and Soba) in particular.

(Reference pages of this article : Wikipedia , 丼物, 丼鉢 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

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