The idea of such a simple food is what donburi or domburi (pronounced either way) is all about. Imagine in the west they have a chicken sandwich; starchy bread, cooked protein and lettuce-tomato, etc.
In Japan the first sandwich in Japan was as early 1899 at a restaurant called Rengatei in Ginza who still serves a Western-styled cuisine. The sandwich in Japan is popular as a western food and in 2010 Japanese families spent more on bread than they did on rice.
After the war the Japanese government accelerated the shift away from rice with public information designed to persuade the public that a Western diet built on bread, meat, and dairy products was essential to build strong bodies. Policies to encourage a shift from farming including rice cultivation to other industries played a role as well.
To think that the American diet could advance over centres of testing in Europe and Asia was silly and is still somehow silly. But the traditional Japanese soup and three meals typically, miso soup and three side dishes in addition to rice and fermented pickles is such that the young generations eating habits and way of life is unpopular.
The rice has to be prepared, or kept hot and soup must be cooked, or reheated. Moreover no rice based meal is complete without a variety of protein and vegetable side dishes, which are time-consuming to prepare. By contrast starchy foods such as pasta lend themselves to quick and simple one-dish meals.
In the case of donbori it hasn’t really changed. You can still find it as a very popular Japanese food and one of our favourites. Donburi is one of the ways in which Japanese rice can be transformed into a simple meal involving the absolute minimum number of ingredients.
Donburi can be prepared by topping a bowl of rice with something as simple as a fried egg, nattō, or whatever. By merely by adding the suffix don, one can elevate a quickly improvised dish to the status of a meal.
Donburi has come to occupy an increasingly prominent place among the dwindling rice-based meals eaten in Japanese homes. This donburi is based on domestic white rice steamed to perfection. Then add juicy chicken tender and juicy, shishito (green pepper) and finally a small amount of tare (sauce) a sweet and salty taste.
The last element added is Japanese nori – Japanese seaweed gives the finishing touches to a perfect one single bowl dish. The end result is succulent and addictive.