Sukiya is famous for its beef bowls, but not many people know about its great breakfasts.

The other day, our reporter P.K. Sanjun waltzed into the office, raised his arms in the air and declared, “Breakfast at Sukiya is the best!”

We’d never seen P.K. arrive for work in such a perky state, so we were immediately intrigued. Sure, Sukiya is a reliable chain, but it’s more famous for its beef bowls than its breakfasts. In fact, we hadn’t ever thought to eat breakfast at Sukiya before, but after he told us how great it was, it’s now firmly on our list of breakfast places, which is handy because compared to countries overseas, there aren’t a whole lot of restaurants in Japan that serve breakfast.

According to P.K., what makes Sukiya’s morning menu truly unbeatable is not just the taste but the speed of delivery and value for money. While there are a number of options available, the breakfast that P.K. recommends is the Tamakake Choshoku (“たまかけ朝食”), which means “Egg-on Breakfast”. You can choose one of three different rice sizes to go with your breakfast — a breakfast with “mini rice” will cost you 260 yen (US$1.86), while a breakfast with regular-sized rice costs 290 yen and a large rice costs 320 yen.

▼ P.K. chose a regular rice, which meant his breakfast cost 290 yen.

If you’ve got more money to burn, you can select one of the other Tamakake Choshoku options, which are slightly more pricey but still cheap in the grand scheme of things, with the most expensive option priced at 490 yen (US$3.51).

▼ Top, left to right: Beef, Natto, Grilled Salmon, Grilled Salted Mackerel

Ordering is incredibly easy — simply take a seat and use the touch screen panel to select your meal. If you’re strapped for time and need breakfast fast, Sukiya is definitely the place to go, because after P.K. placed his order through the touch-screen, it was delivered to him within 30 seconds.

▼ All this for 290 yen, and ready to eat in half a minute!

P.K.’s breakfast included a cup of mugicha (barley tea), a regular serving of rice, miso soup, an egg, nori (roasted seaweed), and a seasonal side dish, which, when P.K. visited, was a bowl of simmered hijiki (dark seaweed) with tofu and carrots.

▼ The rice is made from 100-percent high-quality domestically produced rice, and it’s cooked slightly soft to match the beef topping that it’s usually paired with.

If you’ve never had a Japanese breakfast like this, P.K. is here to walk you through it — simply crack the raw egg on to your rice (the “egg-on” part of the breakfast) and then give it a good stir, which will give you a nice, creamy tamago kake gohan (“egg-on-rice”, or “TKG” as it’s known colloquially).

Then take one of the nori sheets out of the pack and place it flat on the rice. Take your chopsticks and use them to push both ends of the nori into the rice until you’ve rolled it into a morsel that looks like the one below, and then pop it into your mouth, like a mini sushi roll.

In between eating the rice, feel free to enjoy sips of the miso soup to help wash it all down. P.K. told us the miso soup was particularly great, as the fried tofu pieces were delicious and the broth had a soothing aroma and flavour, helping to both warm him up and wake him up, which is what he needs in the morning.

As for the simmered hijiki, you can enjoy bites of it in between the other dishes, or if you’re in a hurry, like P.K. was, you can simply pop it all on the rice for a one-bowl breakfast. As this is a casual eatery, nobody will notice if you don’t follow the polite “sankaku tabe” (“triangular eating“) method.

It might not look like a lot, but rice, egg and miso soup is a protein-and-carb-filled meal that’s surprisingly filling, so P.K. didn’t feel hungry until lunchtime. Sukiya’s breakfast ticked all of P.K.’s boxes for being delicious, fast, cheap and easy-to-eat, and because it’s sold from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. every morning, it’s perfect for travellers with an early start.

At other times of the day, Sukiya is great for cheap lunches and dinners, and they even do a mean taco rice too!

Related: Sukiya “Tamakake Choshoku”
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