The Difference: Yakiniku Don vs Gyudon
“Donburi (丼)”, literally meaning “bowl”, is the Japanese word for “rice bowl dish”, and when used in the name of the dish, it is generally abbreviated to “Don (丼)”, like “Kaisen-Don (海鮮丼)”, “Katsu-Don (カツ丼)”, and “Gyu-Don (牛丼)”.
Among others, Gyudon is especially well-recognized overseas and is commonly referred to as “Japanese beef bowl” in English-speaking countries. Actually, in Japan, there is a popular donburi dish very similar to Gyudon, which is called “Yakiniku-Don (焼肉丼)”.
Yakiniku Don (Donburi) vs Gyudon beef bowl
As you can guess by now, this article is the continuation of the previous post! As I wrote in it, “Yakiniku (焼肉: grilled meat)” is a Japanese barbecue (BBQ) dish where various portions of sliced beef and pork are grilled on a gridiron or griddle by diners themselves at the table.
Then, what is Yakiniku Don? and further, how is the donburi dish different from the Japanese beef bowl Gyudon? This time, let me explain it.
Yakiniku-Don is a Japanese dish consisting of a bowl of steamed plain rice topped with grilled Yakiniku meat. The meat prepared for Yakiniku Don is usually thinly sliced beef or pork that is not greasy (e.g. pork shoulder chops), but chopped small pieces of beef and pork can also be used in Yakiniku Don.
Unlike Gyudon, the meat for Yakiniku Don is first grilled or pan-fried, then dressed with the sauce called “Yakiniku no Tare (焼肉のタレ: sauce meant for Yakiniku)” and placed on a bowl of rice. Supermarkets in Japan usually stock various kinds of ready-made Yakiniku no Tare sauces, so the donburi dish, Yakiniku Don is basically very easy to prepare.
As you may know, Gyudon is a Japanese donburi dish consisting of a bowl of plain white rice topped with chopped or thinly sliced beef and onion simmered in a mildly sweet soy sauce-based dashi sauce, often garnished with red pickled ginger called “Beni Shoga (紅生姜)“.
Unlike Yakiniku Don, the meat prepared for Gyudon is limited to beef as the word “牛 (Gyu)”, also pronounced as “Ushi (牛)”, is the Kanji Chinese character for “cow”.
Hence, before placed on a hot bowl of rice, the beef for Gyudon is simmered with onions and other ingredients, such as Shirataki, in a mildly sweet sauce typically made from soy sauce, dashi stock, and mirin.
In Japan, Gyudon is a more casual, common dish than Yakiniku Don, and is offered as a fast food by a number of Gyudon restaurant chains, which include “Sukiya (すき家)”, “Yoshinoya (吉野家)”, and “Matsuya (松屋)”. The donburi dish is also known as “Gyumeshi (牛めし, 牛飯)”, by the way.
(Reference Page: Wikipedia 牛丼 )