What is Donburi?
Donburi typically refers to a relatively deep bowl most commonly used to serve rice dishes or noodles. Some of the very popular dishes you would find in donburi are soba, udon, ramen and rice dishes such as Ten-don (tempura over rice) or Katsu-don (cutlet over rice) ETC. Although there are many theories about the origins of Donburi, the most agreed upon dates them to the Edo Period. This was an incredibly industrious time for the future capital of Japan, and many of the city’s residents found themselves dining at street-side stalls or small restaurants. As a result, the set menus of varied plates and dishes were swapped out for the easier donburi bowl. Rather than serve the proteins and vegetables alongside the rice, they began placing them right on top of the rice and thus Donburi was born. The tradition further evolved, seeing donburi now house a variety of meals beyond just their humble origins opening the way for noodles and other dining experiences. Now you can find unique donburi dishes all over Japan that reflect the local specialties and tastes of each region.
Types of Donburi
How to Choose Your Donburi
Depending on the type and volume of a given dish the ideal donburi shape and size can be quite varied. Smaller donburi could be used to serve appetizers and larger ones could easily be used as a shared serving dish, so don’t feel tied down to a particular usage. Be creative! There are no restrictions on what to serve in donburi, and choosing them should be fun. Furthermore, rather than feeling bound to a particular set, feel free to mix and match from the variety to add color and excitement to your table, as is often practiced in Japan.
You will find this size and shape most commonly housing noodles such as soba or udon.
Tall With a Wider Top
This striking shape is most commonly used for ramen.
(often with lid)
A classic profile, the lidded donburi is most commonly associated with rice dishes such as Gyu-don, Ten-don or Katsu-don.
This small yet deep shape allows you to serve donburi dishes in smaller portions.
Shallow and Wide
These donburi are designed for cold noodles, such as Hiyashi Chu-ka.