Yoshinoya is a long-time favorite of every poor man living in Japan. For just 380yen, or about $3US you get a moderate portion of rice topped with juicy, marinated beef and grilled onions. Back when I was in high school, I remember eating at Yoshinoya every week to take advantage of their “every sixth gyudon (the aforementioned beef bowl yumminess) free” limited-time promotion.
One of the overlooked fun aspects of Yoshinoya is the ability to customize your order. Much like In-N-Out Burger in California, there’s a Yoshinoya-specific lingo that will let you hack your order.
Below are 12 Japanese phrases to know when ordering at Yoshinoya
Tsuyudaku – More gravy
Japanese people are renown for abhorring tainting a bowl of white rice with any kind of sauce. The big exception, however, is when it comes to donburi, or rice bowls. Fulfill your gaijin desire to pour sauce on rice at Yoshinoya and order extra gravy! Just say, “Gyudon nami (regular size), tsuyudaku de!”
Tsuyudakudaku – Even more gravy
If tsuyudaku doesn’t satisfy your need to flavor your rice, you can drown your beef bowl with gyudon gravy by ordering, “Tsuyudakudaku de!”
Tsuyunuki – No gravy
Of course, you can go the opposite extreme and order no gravy. This is good if you’re trying to go the healthy direction.
Negidaku – Extra onions
You can also order your gyudon, “Negidaku de!” If you like those sweet, crunchy onions, just ask for more.
Atama no Omori – Extra-large helping of meat
I think the men out there will get the most out of this phrase. Extra meat please! “Atama no omori kudasai!”
Atama no Tokumori – Super-large helping of meat
For the supersizers, just ask, “Atama no tokumori kudasai!”
Nikushita – Toppings on the bottom, rice on top
For a funny looking gyudon, you can ask for your rice on top of the meat. There’s no real purpose to this one other than the amusement factor.
Tsumeshiro – Cooler rice
If you have a heat-sensitive mouth, or a cat’s tongue as they say in Japan, you can order your rice a little cooler. When you order, “nami, tsumeshiro de,” they’ll pour your rice in the bowl and let it sit on the counter a little bit.
Atsushiro – Hot, freshly cooked rice
If you like your rice freshly cooked and steaming hot, order your gyudon “atsushiro de!”
Torodaku – Fattier meat
You can even choose to get the fattier parts of the meat! If you feel like you want a greasier gyudon, order “torodaku de!”
Toronuki – No meat fat
The opposite of torodaku is toronuki. Combined with tsuyunuki, you can get a pretty healthy gyudon.
Oyuwari – Diluted miso soup
You can even ask them to customize your miso soup. For the same amount of miso but more water, order “Miso shiru oyuwari de!” It’s the same price but you feel like you’re getting more soup!
There are supposedly more secret phrases to use at Yoshinoya. Given all the possible combinations, there are over 100 different ways you can have your Yoshi-Gyu! It’s like the Starbucks of gyudons!