We try the full selection of emergency pork, beef, chicken and mackerel rice bowls.

Yoshinoya is one of Japan’s most famous fast food chains, specialising in gyudon beef bowls with a motto that bills itself as “tasty, low-priced and quick”.

Now they’re taking their company motto into bold new territory with their first-ever line of canned Yoshinoya rice bowls, which come ready-to-eat and require no cooking, so all you have to is pop the top, grab your chopsticks, and dig in.

We ordered a complete set of the canned Yoshinoya range, which consists of six varieties: Beef Bowl, Yakiniku Beef, Yakitori Chicken, Pork, Ginger Pork, and Salted Grilled Mackerel.

While Yoshinoya bowls usually contain white rice, the canned versions contain brown rice, specifically the Kin no Ibuku variety of rice grown in Japan’s Miyagi Prefecture. They also come with a shelf life of three years, as these are designed to be kept on hand as emergency supplies for disaster preparedness.

Our resident chef and respected taste-tester Nagahashi was on the case for this assignment, honing in on the canned beef bowl to kick off the proceedings.

▼ He flipped off the lid and…yep, this was beef.

The beef topping was beautifully placed in the can, making it look enticing on first appearances.

However, after taking a bite, the flavour was somehow different to a regular Yoshinoya beef bowl. The big difference came down to the addition of brown rice, which was harder than white rice and less succulent, making the whole dish seem drier than usual. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t good, it was just…well, a little ordinary.

Still, it was a beef bowl in a can, and designed to be an emergency supply food at that, so we weren’t expecting a culinary masterpiece. Inspecting the instructions further, though, revealed that the can should be warmed up in hot water for about ten minutes to enhance the flavour.

Nagahashi decided to heat the mixture up in the microwave instead, and when he popped it out and took a bite, he was glad he did. The heat softened the rice and made everything all gooey and tasty, much more like the beef bowl Yoshinoya is known for.

Nagahashi heated all the cans up and then proceeded to eat them all in one sitting.

▼ The Pork Bowl had no funky aroma, and was simple and delicious.

▼ The Yakiniku Beef Bowl had an impressive, rich flavour, and would be perfect with an alcoholic beverage.

▼ The Ginger Pork Bowl had a good amount of ginger and a tantalising taste.

The Salted Grilled Mackerel Bowl looked beautiful, and was filled with classic mackerel flavours.

▼ The Yakitori Chicken Bowl contained more meat than rice, which made it extra filling.

All the canned rice bowls surpassed Nagahashi’s expectations, but the one thing he definitely recommends is heating the cans to give their contents the best flavour.

The canned Yoshinoya meals can be purchased through the company’s online shop here, where sets of one each of the six flavours or six-can bundles of a single type are identically priced at 4,860 yen (US$45), except for the six-can set of mackerel, which is slightly cheaper at 4,590 yen.

Whether you’re stocking up for a major emergency or a minor need for quick and easy dinner options, these Yoshinoya canned rice bowls make a great addition to any pantry. And they’re a lot cheaper than the mammoth Yoshinoya beef bowl we created for $100.

Photos © SoraNews24
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