Gyumeshi vs. Gyudon: What’s the Difference?

Gyudon (牛丼) is one of the most popular varieties of Donburi (丼: Japanese rice bowl dish), often referred to as Beef Bowl in English-speaking countries.

In its name, the word Gyu (牛) means cattle in Japanese and refers to beef, while the latter Don (丼) is short (the suffix) for Donburi.

Gyudon is considered a kind of fast food in Japan where there are several Gyudon chains, including Yoshinoya (吉野家), Matsuya (松屋), Sukiya (すき家), and Nakau (なか卯).

Among those restaurants, only Matsuya doesn’t have Gyudon on the menu. Instead, it offers GyuMeshi (牛めし: meaning Beef Rice). 

Gyumeshi vs. Gyudon Beef Bowls

Gyudon or Gyumeshi

Some people might be wondering, Gyumeshi and Gyudon are different things? But to get to the point, they are essentially the same things.

The difference in name is related to history, and Gyumeshi has a long history compared to Gyudon.

Around the late 19th century, by covering a bowl of white rice with Gyunabe (牛鍋: Beef Hot Pot), in other words, with Sukiyaki,

Gyumeshi, also called Gyunabe Bukkake (牛鍋ぶっかけ), was created and became popular among the general public.

In 1899, Yoshinoya was founded and began to serve Gyumeshi. But later, the founder Eikichi Matsuda gave the dish another name, Gyudon.

Today, Gyudon has become a more common word in Japan for Beef Bowl in English.

(Reference Page: Wikipedia 牛丼 )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. For the purpose of enriching your life, I would like to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures, and facts and trivia.

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