Jun 4, 2013

Parent-and-child bowl?! What is it??

The other day I wrote about "anago-don" or conger eel bowl, but I forgot to explain to you what "don" means.

Well, "don" or "donburi"is a large bowl of steamed white rice. If tempura is put on top of rice, for example, the dish is normally called tempura-don, or ten-don for short.  If it is topped with cooked beef (=gyu), it will become gyu-don.

Then what is 親子丼 (おやこどん、oyako-don), or "parent-and-child bowl"? Can you guess?

To know the answer, look at the photo below. Yes, it is a chicken-and-egg bowl. Needless to say, おや(oya, parent) is chicken and (ko, child) is an egg.

When I was a child, I didn't like this name very much, because it always made me imagine a mother and her children being cooked in the same pan and served in the same bowl.  How cruel! When chicken is replaced with other meat such as beef and pork, it is called 他人丼 (たにんどん tanin-don, strangers bowl), which sounds even sadder than oyako-don.

Oyako-don is one of the typical dishes at home. It is easy to make: you cut chicken into dice and slice onion, cook them in  soy-flavored dashi (fish stock) , add a beaten egg just before turning off the heat to prevent overcooking the egg.  Then you put it on top of steamed white rice and garnish it with mitsuba, a herb similar to parsley, if you want.

At restaurants, serving it with an egg yolk is becoming a trend, because we love the creamy texture of a raw egg, believe it or not.

As I mentioned before in the story about sukiyaki, you don't have to worry about food poisoning caused by raw eggs in Japan. The simplest way of enjoying raw eggs is "tamago-kake-gohan," or hot steamed white rice with a beaten egg and soy sauce poured over it. If you stay at a Japanese traditional inn, you will probably be served for breakfast. I know it is not appreciated very much by foreigners, but try it even once! Whether you like it or not... only God knows.

I had the oyako-don in the photo above for lunch at  鶏味座(とりみくら、Torimikura), a yakitori (skewered chicken) place located in trendy Aoyama area in Tokyo. They don't serve ordinary skewered chicken during the lunch time, but they have yakitori-don (photo below).

Four type of yakitori and an onsen tamago (lit. hot spring egg), or a special boiled egg with custard-like unique texture, are put on the rice. Skewers used to grill the meat have been removed. The green stuff on the chicken is wasabi.

This is how the restaurant looks from outside. It looks like an old Japanese house in the countryside, but actually located at the very center of Tokyo. Isn't it nice?

Unfortunately, the service is not super friendly. When my husband asked them to change the order, the guy who took the order looked very reluctant and even a bit angry with us, although he agreed to change finally.  If they had already started the preparation, he could have told us so nicely. We don't get mad about such a trifle thing.

But except this small incident, I was pretty much happy with the lunch at Torimikura. My delicious oyako-don was only  \1,000 including miso soup and some pickles, and the yakitori-don that my husband had was \1,300 because he added grilled liver. Pretty reasonable for the quality.

Restaurant information:

鶏味座 (torimikura)
3-12-4 Minami Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo

4-minute walk from Omotesando Station

tel: 5770-5039

Mon. thru. Fri.: Open 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., 6 p.m.-11:30 p.m.; Sat., Sun. & holidays, 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m., 5-10:30 p.m.

Budget: for lunch \1,000-2,000; for dinner \5,000  per person.


  1. Yukoさん こんにちは!

    I think 親子丼 is my favourite Japanese food, because it's homestyle and very comforting.

    I've never heard of 焼き鳥どん before but it looks delicious! It's probably not a surprise to people in Japan, lol... The other day, I tried making 温泉卵 using a Japanese recipe from Youtube:


    Although I overcooked the egg white near the shell slightly, the yolk and most of the white came out runny, just like the restaurant version! It was my first success so I was very happy~ Do you make 温泉卵 yourself?

    Wow, the restaurant info you put up is very useful (that is, if you're actually in Tokyo!). I enjoyed reading your restaurant review... I'll try not to change my order there ^^;;

    1. サマンサさん、こんにちは!
      Thanks for visiting my blog regularly. Your comments really encourage me. Since English is not my native language, it takes me long to write a blog post, but gambarimasu!

      You succeeded to make a perfect 温泉卵! Congratulations!! I sometimes make them at home but fail very often. When I really need them, I go to a supermarket (hahaha). By the way, do you know 温泉卵 goes well with Caesar salad? Please try it :)

  2. Yukoさん、どういたしまして! ^0^/

    As for your blog, all I can say is... ごころさまでした! You're doing an excellent job at keeping an English blog and I enjoy it because it provides a unique insight into Japanese life. (But don't worry, even a few pictures are fine with me!) Truth be told... I'm trying to learn Japanese by myself, since it's a new interest of mine and I try to learn whenever I have spare time. Visiting your blog really motivates me to learn more Japanese words, so I have you to thank! ^.^

    Hahaha... you're so lucky to have supermarkets and コンビニ (are they considered different? I'm not sure..). Caesar salad and 温泉卵?Wow, that sounds like a perfect combination! Thanks for the idea Yukoさん!(Now I'll probably put 温泉卵 in everything, lol... it's wonderful!)

    1. P.S. I keep forgetting to click the 'Reply' button... oops, how embarrassing! I'll try to remember next time ^^;;

    2. Hi サマンサさん

      こんにちは!I'm glad to know you are interested in our culture and language! Gambatte!

      As I wrote in my profile, I'm teaching Japanese to foreigners living here, but most of my students came to Japan for their business and don't seem very interested in Japanese culture, even foods. It is a bit sad...