Omurice - Gastro Obscura

Prepared Foods


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.

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