Beef rice bowl, also known as gyudon 牛丼 in Japanese, is commonly a dish of sliced beef on a bowl of rice finished with a light sauce on top. Most places serve the dish using Wagyu, deemed a more premium kind of beef that is loved for it’s great marbling and taste. You may also find this dish served with the addition of an onsen egg (half-boiled egg), truffle oil or shaved truffles. This is a bowl full of everything good.
Before you visit anywhere on this list, it’s advisable to call in advance to check whether gyudon is being served as availability differs and changes from time to time.
We think this Japanese dish might just be your next favourite staple food!
Steak & Foie Gras Donburi ($28)
If you’re looking for thicker, chunkier beef check out this dish at Babette. The Australian grass-fed sirloin steak is good with a nice marbling of fat and is an incredible shade of medium rare red. The sauce used in the dish complimented the beef well with a tinge of sweetness. The foie gras wasn’t as creamy as others I’ve tried but, considering the price, this is worth every cent. I also enjoyed the addition of ebi roe that provided a little crunch to the meal.
Babette: 165 Tyrwhitt Road, Singapore 207569| Tel: 6341 7727 | website | Opening Hours: Daily 11:30-23:00
Photo: Andrew Lum Photography
Miyazaki A4 Wagyu Don ($34.90)
Not the typical wagyu don you might expect because of its unusual pairing of ingredients. The addition of Ikura roe adds a salty edge and gives every mouthful an enhanced burst of flavour. In comparison the pieces of wagyu beef pale a little in taste, as does the plain-tasting onsen egg. Each piece of medium rare beef had a good contrast between the slight brown exterior and the juicy tenderness inside. Be warned, this is only available on their lunch menu.
Dstllry: 21 Media Circle #01-01, Singapore 138562 | Tel: 6334 4816 | website | Opening Hours: Monday to Saturday 12:00-15:00/18:00-00:00; Closed Sunday
3. The Sushi Bar
Wagyu Foie Gras Don ($39.90)
The wagyu don served here is far moister than others I tried, probably owing to the generous serving of sauce added to the rice bowl. Each piece of wagyu is thinly sliced and arranged neatly across the bowl. The meat comes packed with strong beef flavour that is best enjoyed with the mildly sweet sauce. Two (generous) pieces of fatty foie gras definitely made me feel even more satisfied. In my opinion, the addition of onion and garlic cut through all that beefy taste effectively.
The Sushi Bar: 14 Scotts Road ,Far East Plaza #04-28, Singapore 228213 | Tel: 9653 6464 | website | Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 12:00-15:00/17:30-21:00; Friday & Saturday 12:00-21:00; Closed Sunday
4. The Refinery
Photo: Andrew Lum
Gyuniku Donburi ($14)
This is one of the cheapest you can get for a serving of beef rice bowl, but being cheap doesn’t mean the quality is bad. This bowl contains Truffle Hon Shimeiji Mushroom and Tare Marinated Skirt Steak, the price of it is easily wins the favour of most diners. The truffle ratio was pretty mild, however the limelight goes to the Tare Marinated Skirt Steak for the exceptional flavour and a slight sweet-tasting finish.
The Refinery: 115 King George’s Ave, Singapore 208561 | Tel:6293 1204 | website | Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 12:00-15:00/18:00-00:00; Friday 12:00-15:00/18:00-01:00; Saturday 11:00-16:00/18:00-01:00; Sunday 11:00-16:00; Closed Monday
Wagyu Beef Rump Cap Don ($13)
Another pocket friendly wagyu beef don comes courtesy of The Burning Oak. While this may not be the best tasting one compared to the rest, it is more than acceptable given how affordable it is. I found the rice was a little too dry to swallow, probably due to the lack of sauce that barely covered half the bowl. The beef on the other hand was pretty moist and juicy, just about balancing out the lack of sauce.
The Burning Oak: 348 Bedok Road, #02-16, Singapore, 469560 | Tel: 9873 6093| website | Opening Hours: Tuesday to Thursday 12:00-13:30/18:00-21:30; Friday & Saturday 12:00-13:30/18:00-22:00; Sunday 18:00-22:00; Closed Monday
6. Tanuki Raw
Truffle Yakiniku Don ($14.80)
Tanuki Raw’s rice bowls have always been my favourite and I’m particularly biased to their beef bowl. Not only is it excellent value for money, it’s also my favourite meal to get when I’m in the Orchard area. Served with generous portions of beef and truffle, the flavour is intense. For maximum enjoyment be sure to mix the onsen egg consistently around the entire bowl. Once topped with the special garnish this dish is heaven.
Tanuki Raw: 181 Orchard Road#02-03 Orchard Central Singapore 238896 | Tel: 6636 5949 | website | opening hours: Daily 11:30-22:00
7. Sushi Jin
Wagyu Don ($35)
Sushi Jin wins the award for the best presented beef rice bowl, it’s undoubtedly one of the prettiest I’ve seen. You’ll be pleased to hear it’s also as tasty as it looks. The pieces of wagyu melt in the mouth and they get the truffle ratio spot on. The spring onion garnish cuts through the beefy and truffle taste so perfectly I think I could eat three bowls consecutively…
Sushi Jin: One Farrer Hotel & Spa 1 Farrer Park Station Road Owen Link, #01-11/12, Singapore 217562 | Tel: 6443 3378 | website | Opening Hours: Daily 12:00-14:30/18:30-22:30
8. Fat Cow
Fat Foa-gura Don ($43)
Some may find the wagyu/foie gras combination a good one, some might not. Initially I was the latter. But I guess it’s true that you’ve got to try before you decide, and so I did. The wagyu beef was fine, with a decent medium rare finish it retained it’s juiciness. My attention was on the foie gras however as it’s fattiness and creamy texture wow-ed me, to the extent I wish I had all Foie Gras instead. Overall this dish at Fat Cow is a must try if you are looking to savour a good bowl of beef don. Another that is only available on their lunch menu.
Fat Cow: 1 Orchard Boulevard, Camden Medical Centre #01-01, Singapore 248649 | Tel: 6735 0308 | website | Opening Hours: Daily 12:00-15:00/18:00-23:00
9. Kinsa Sushi
Wagyu Don ($24.90)
Kinsa Sushi’s prized dish had me feeling overly excited. The sauce was really sweet, possibly a little too sweet for some but I enjoyed it. The marbling of the Kagoshima A4 Wagyu Beef Slices was impressive but overall it was a little lacking in flavour. The rice grains were puffy and were a great accompaniment to the beef.
Kinsa Sushi: 4 Hillview Rise, HillV2 #02-02, Singapore 667979 | Tel: 6710 7278 | website | Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 11:30-15:00/17:30-22:00; Friday to Sunday 11:30-22:00
Gyudon Wagyu Rice ($34)
If you work in the CBD and are looking for a cosy lunch spot, the Gyudon at Izy is worth checking out. Yes, we found the beef to be a little dry, but we loved the strength of the truffle and the delicious soft boiled egg. It’s on the pricey side but portions are generous so it’s worth every cent.
Izy: 27 Club Street, Singapore 069413 | Tel: 9678 0027 | website | Opening hours: Monday to Saturday 12:00-14:30/17:00-01:00; Closed Sunday
11. Ikki Izakaya
Yakiniku Don ($11)
Another affordable serving of beef rice bowl can be found at Ikki. Nestled in a quiet spot in the Buona Vista area, this is one gem many are yet to discover. Usually catering to the office crowd on weekdays it can get really busy. We recommend visiting on the weekend as it’s a lot quieter and is a great place for drinks and food.
Their yakiniku don is made using regular beef as opposed to wagyu, none the less it still packs a beefy punch and the portion is generous. The onions served alongside the beef were sweet and cut through the richness of the meat well.
Ikki Izakaya: 9 North Buona Vista Drive #01-06/07 Singapore 138588 | Tel:8138 8578 | website | Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 11:00-00:00; Friday 11:00-02:00; Saturday 17:00-02:00; Closed Sunday
Hokubee Rib Eye Don ($28.50).
Gastrosmith has seemingly perfected this gyudon, even to the smallest detail of the moistness of the rice. With a flavourful japanese seasoning mix, topped off with that 63 degree perfectly soft boiled egg and super juicy, marbled rib eye, this dish would be a definite must try.
With such a generous serving of fatty ribeye, the value is almost unparalleled. Hokubee beef is engineered to taste similarly to kobe beef, where fat is reinjected into the beef to obtain that juicy marbled effect we are so in love with. Don’t be alarmed, its just as safe to eat as per your normal beef. I assure you, once you take a bite into the Hokubee, you’re sure to be a converted fan.
GastroSmiths Bistro & Bakery: 103 Beach Road, Tan Quee Lan Street, Singapore 189704 | Tel: 6336 3680 | Website | Opening hours: Tues – Sun 11.30am – 2.30pm ; 6pm – 9.30pm
Like I mentioned at the start, beef rice bowls don’t always merely contain beef, some feature shaved truffle, some with truffle oil. Some with foie gras and some not. What’s your favourite combination, or do you like it just beef and rice, nothing else? I like mine with Foie Gras, of course!