Hack the tamago kake!

Beef bowls are a much-loved food in Japan, but with prices rising the way they are, it can be hard to get our gyudon fix as much as we like. Luckily, there are still some cheap options out there if you know where to look. Our writer Masanuki stumbled on one such was while trying to settle a friendly dispute with a reader over what restaurant had the best tamago kake gohan (TKG).

TKG is a standard Japanese dish served both at home and in restaurants and essentially consists of raw egg on rice. The reader suggested that Sukiya’s TKG was not as good as the ones at Matsunoya, which is a sister restaurant of the beef bowl chain Matsuya that specializes in fried pork cutlets. So, to find out Masanuki went to a Matsuya Plus, which is a Matsuya and Matsunoya in the same building.

Much like their names, Matsuya and Matsunoya are very similar restaurants and both offer a Tamago Kake Morning Meal with Raw Egg. They both come with a bowl of rice, bowl of miso soup, and raw or soft-boiled egg. The only differences are the prices and selections of side dishes. Matsunoya’s meal is 250 yen (US$1.79) and comes with a potato croquette, pickled vegetables, natto, or cold tofu. Matsuya’s comes with cold tofu, grated yam, natto, or beef for 290 yen ($2.08).

It was around this point that Masanuki lost sight of why he came here in the first place, because seeing TKG with a side of beef gave him a idea.

Looking at Matsuya’s Tamago Kake Morning Meal it’s hard not to notice that all the key components of their beef bowl are included. Also, one big advantage of both these meals is that the price is fixed regardless of a small, regular, large, or extra-large serving of rice.

Our reporter wasn’t very hungry so he just ordered a regular serving of rice.

By putting the egg over rice and then scooping the beef on top, Masanuki made his own beef bowl.

There were even pickled ginger and shichimi spices on hand to complete the look.

The beef and onions were exactly like what you get in Matsuya’s normal beef bowls, and the only issue might be that it’s a rather small serving. Still, for 290 yen a pop it’s great for a light meal and big eaters could even get two and with the right balance between rice, egg, and beef, could come out with a decent sized order of gyudon and a side of TKG with two bowls of miso soup for just 580 yen.

It’s probably not fair to compare this to Sukiya’s TKG anymore since it’s neither TKG nor from Matsunoya. For what it’s worth though, Masanuki still prefers Sukia for the texture of its rice and flavor of miso soup. Matsuya’s makeshift mini breakfast beef bowls certainly rank highly with him as a very satisfying balance of quality and quantity. They’re available at all Matsuya locations too, so you don’t have to track down a Matsuya Plus like he did.

So, remember next time you’re hankering to start your day with a beef bowl that there are more options out there than meets the eye and often for a really good price.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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