Japan Food Review: Gyudon at Gyu No Chikara, Ueno
We stumbled upon this place while walking around Ueno area in Tokyo. What drew us there was a TV that sat in front of the restaurant playing a program (in Japanese, of course) about how a good gyudon is made. It took us quite a while to realise that the program was about the gyudon shop that we were standing in front of.
Gyudon, in case you don’t know, literally means beef bowl. It is a all-in-one rice dish which is topped with beef and onions cooked in thin sauce concocted from soy sauce, dashi, mirin, etc. It’s one of my favourite Japanese dishes (I have a feeling I repeat myself a lot, don’t I?) so we decided, why not? And walked in.
(Original gyu-don – 800 yen?)
We were confronted by yet another vending machine and thankfully this time the vending machine had tiny little pictures in on each of the button. So we sort of guessed our way (again!)
Josh settled for the plain gyudon. And I settled for a gyudon that looked like it had poached egg and saffron threads on it. We sat at the counter (this place was also counter- only) and was confronted by the usual array of chopsticks, tea cups, fresh garlic and pickled ginger. It seemed like one of the ways to eat gyudon is crushing fresh garlic into the rice (garlic crusher provided).
(My gyudon, with what I thought was chilli sauce but I wasn’t sure)
Our food arrived a few minuites later and oh. my. god. It was delicious! It was one of the two gyudon meals in Japan (another was at the chain Yoshinoya, which, while good, was nothing compared to Gyu No Chikara) . The meat was tender and the sauce was just perfect. I loved the poached eggs with gyudon. Our rice bowls were also accompanied by a little bowl of soup with colourful bits of some sort of fish sticks and seafood. We washed our meals down with free green tea.
(I stirred the poached egg through the rice, yummy!)
My dish seemed to have some sort of chilli sauce to it but it didn’t taste spicy. The red threads seemed like saffron thread but didn’t taste particularly saffron-ish. Frankly I really couldn’t tell what I ate! I preferred Josh’s plain gyudon but nonetheless each gyudon was perfect in its own way.
Gyu No Chikara, somewhere near JR Ueno station.