Omurice - Gastro Obscura
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Prepared Foods

Omurice

Japanese cooks riff on American diner food with this rice-and-ketchup omelet.

Around the turn of the 20th century, Japan expanded its global presence. Exposure to Western cuisine quickly became a source of inspiration for cooks on the island. By reimagining American classics using local staples, Japanese people living during the Meiji period gave rise to a sub-genre of cooking called yōshoku (“Western food”).

One of the most popular interpretations of yōshoku is omurice. This take on an American diner-style omelet features fluffy eggs wrapped around a mound of Japanese fried rice, sometimes fried with ketchup. The whole dish is garnished with more ketchup, brown gravy, or demi-glace (a veal stock–based glaze). Restaurant chefs may also add Japanese mayonnaise (richer and tangier than its American counterpart) or a heap of melted cheese on top. Though omurice is enjoyed as a homey comfort food across the nation, its biggest proponents are probably those who are still young enough to order off kids’ menus.

Need to Know

Omurice is served in Japanese Western-style diners and homes across the nation, as well as in Korea and Taiwan.

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