What Makes The Japan's Classic Oyakodon Unique

Have you ever wondered what comfort foods look like around the world? Many Americans might say a hefty scoop of homemade mac and cheese or a deliciously greasy slice of pizza is what they turn to for comfort. Poutine is likely many Canadians' response. With crispy warm fries topped with cheese curds and thick gravy, it's hard to go wrong. Eastern Europeans may look to their beet-infused borscht with added sour cream for true solace. And, in Japan, many may believe the ultimate comfort food to be ramen. However, another dish may actually take the top spot.

Oyakodon is a chicken and egg rice bowl that has great umami flavor and consoling ingredients. According to Just One Cookbook, the name translates to parent-and-child rice bowl referring to the two main ingredients: the chicken and the egg. While most of the dish's ingredient list breaks down into simple easy-to-find foods, there is one addition that adds a unique flavor to the dish. 

Mitsuba adds to the unique flavor

One-bowl dishes like oyakodon are popular in Japan for easy go-to meals, whether that's grabbing a quick lunch out or making a simple dinner at home, as Serious Eats notes. The tender chicken, simmered onions, and fluffy eggs are the perfect combination to top the bed of rice in this true comfort dish. And, the addition of oyakodon's sweet-and-salty broth made of dashi, soy sauce, sake, and sugar ties all of the hearty ingredients together, as Serious Eats explains. However, the ingredient that truly elevates this dish is mitsuba.

According to Just One Cookbook, mitsuba is a uniquely-flavored herb that has a slightly bitter, celery-like flavor. Serious Eats says it tastes like mild-flavored parsley. This wild parsley often appears in other one-bowl rice dishes for its refreshing attributes. Unfortunately, mitsuba can be hard to come by; if you can't get your hands on it, you can substitute the herb for green onions. A mitsuba-less oyakodon is still delicious, but, we encourage you to pair them for the ultimate experience. 

After a stressful day at work or when you need quick filling lunch, it may be worth turning to oyakodon to soothe you on your most trying days.