Home Cooked Yoshinoya vs. Store Bought Frozen Yoshinoya

Yoshinoya has a special place in my heart. Ever since I was a kid I’ve loved the place. Some people probably equate it to nasty fast food, but to me it is so much more. It’s my childhood scooped up into a foam bowl. We went to Japan and got to try the Yoshinoya beef bowl from the source earlier this year (which I still need to write about), but this post will be focused on making a beef bowl inspired by Yoshinoya and comparing it to the frozen pack of beef sold by Yoshinoya.

I looked up different recipes online and ended up combining a few ideas together that sounded good in my head. As you can imagine, I had high hopes for this to turn out well. Here are all the ingredients I gathered for this recipe. Something to note is the pack of pickled ginger is from a small shop we found at the Tsukiji Market in Tokyo. All other items were found locally at a Suruki Supermarket in San Mateo.

One thing about cooking is I do it in waves, meaning I tend to cook often for a few weeks and then disappear from the kitchen the next few weeks. The thought of Yoshinoya perked me up and I was ready for another cooking wave.

The steps were relatively simple to follow and it was an easy time putting everything together. The hardest part probably was waiting for it to finish to try it all. The first step is to make the kombu dashi broth. This basically is a fish broth with seaweed and shiitake. I went the lazy route and used a soup base bag. It’s kind of like a tea bag you steep for a short while. I added the soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar to the kombu and brought to a boil.

Then I added onions to try to get them soft like the real Yoshinoya beef bowls.

And finally the meat! Again, I was lazy and bought precut shabu shabu ribeye. The cooking process is pretty quick at about 5 minutes.

And wala! A home cooked Yoshinoya beef bowl in about 20 minutes.

After I made the fresh made from scratch version, I pulled out the frozen pack of Yoshinoya and popped it into the microwave. After a short time, it was ready. The rice was done cooking and we were in business.
So how did they compare? Well I always prefer fresh home made food over frozen or processed foods. If I compare the actual taste of what a Yoshinoya beef bowl tastes like I will say the frozen version tasted spot on and had the essence of Yoshinoya. The home made beef bowl just didn’t give me that nostalgic feeling I covet in a Yoshinoya beef bowl.

That’s not to say the home made version wasn’t tasty. It was pretty good and the fresh ingredients certainly made the dish pop. But nostalgia is not to be underestimated. I hate to say it but the frozen version may have been more satisfying and ended up being the preferred choice.

Final Thoughts

Even though the frozen version won this head to head battle, I probably will try to find alternate recipe’s to replicate the Yoshinoya flavor. Fresher hopefully will be better next time.

Do you have any childhood eats that are close to your heart?


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