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Jul 18, 2011 08:31 AM

In search of good Oyako Don Buri anywhere in Florida. Suggestions?

I am seeking recommendations for Oyako Don Buri available in restaurants anywhere in Florida. I first had Oyako Don Buri when a Japanese friend made it for me at Indiana University.

Good Oyako Don Buri consists of a large bowl of short grained rice, mixed with chunks of smokey grilled chicken in a pretty sweet teriyaki sauce (mostly absorbed by the rice), with some aromatic sake mixed in, with a layer of smokey, sweet onions cut in a Lyonnaise style which are layered over the rice about halfway down the bowl. Then there is more rice. On top of this is a fried, but still runny egg, with more teriyaki-flavored rice and chicken chunks on top of the egg. (Sometimes, the egg is mixed into the rice, but not usually.) Various decorative adornments, usually in the form of vegetables, are at the top of the dish (but some chefs go overboard on this with undercooked vegetables).

Mostly, the dish consists of teriyaki sauce, rice, chicken chunks and carmelized onion.

I rarely find this dish in Florida Japanese restaurants, even when they are serving other "don" dishes. It seems to be much more common in the Chicago area, where I used to live. However, it is considered in Japan a winter dish, so maybe that is the reason we don't see it that much here.

When done badly, it is a bland dish without enough teriyaki sauce, sweetness, or smokiness and a bunch of random vegetables on top, which are undercooked. So please, help me find some good examples of this dish! Thanks.

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  1. Ai I Sushi, behind the Albertsons on Waters and Dale Mabry in Tampa, serves several different types of donburi bowls (including oyakodon).

    3 Replies
    1. re: deet13

      That was going to be my reco too. I remember that place having some cool Japanese food you don't see at most Tampa Japanese restaurants

      1. re: askdrtodd

        I Ai Sushi is where I go to get my summertime fix of chilled soba noodles, grilled squid, and lava filled takoyaki (octopus balls).

        1. re: deet13

          Thanks, deet13 and askdrtodd,

          I will check it out and report back. Since I now commute between Tallahassee during the week and Tampa on weekends, it may take a few weeks. I look forward to trying it out.

    2. The dish, as you described, bears little resemblance to Oyakodon as typically prepared in Japan. I've eaten this dish in numerous places all over Japan and none of them had teriyaki sauce or a fried egg. The chicken is also not grilled.

      It is hard to find in most Japanese restaurants in Florida simply because most Japanese restaurants in Florida are pretty inauthentic.

      That being said, Hanamizuki in Orlando is very authentic and has a very authentic (if Kyoto leaning) menu.