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Dec 31, 2022

HOW TOWhy are Raw Eggs Eaten Over Rice, Only in Japan?

Raw eggs are commonly used in Western dishes like steak tartare and eggnog, but in Japan, they're served over rice. And this is why.

Dec 31, 2022

What is tamago kake gohan (TKG)?

Tamago kake gohan, or TKG as it’s affectionately known in Japan, is a hugely popular dish of raw eggs over rice seasoned with a generous glug of soy sauce. While many diners enjoy the dish at breakfast, it is made at any time of the day and is refreshingly simple to put together. 

There are three ways to make TKG. The first is simply to crack an egg and place it in the center of a mound of fresh, fluffy rice. The second method is to mix the egg separately in a bowl and then pour it over the rice. And the third is to separate the yolk from the white, whip the white into a merengue and top the rice with the foamy mixture before delicately placing the yolk on top. 

Japanese soul food and izakaya staple

TKG is a Japanese comfort food that many diners crave. It’s simple, filling, and tasty. Like the classic European or American pub, a Japanese izakaya is an informal place to go and enjoy your favorite tipple and bite to eat after work. Japanese izakaya also serve food, and like the relaxed setting, the emphasis is not on fine dining.

TKG in an izakaya is a match made in heaven. Thoroughly unpretentious, TKG is meant to be eaten as a comfort or soul food, and the atmosphere of an izakaya makes it the perfect, laid-back place to enjoy a bowl. 

Why raw eggs are a healthy choice

It’s not everywhere in the world that you could sit down to a dish of raw eggs and feel completely comfortable. Yet, Japanese egg producers abide by incredibly strict codes set by the Japan Poultry Association to ensure their eggs are safe to eat raw. Beyond this, instead of an expiration date, Japanese eggs have a taste expiration date, to ensure they are enjoyed at peak flavor.

As well as the taste, Japanese consumers are keen on raw eggs for the health benefits they provide. Raw eggs have unique components that are removed when heated and are rich in easily digestible protein, antioxidants, and a host of vitamins and minerals. 

TKG varieties and cultural significance

TKG has a strong place in contemporary Japanese culture. Most recently, the dish was exposed to international audiences through the anime Gin no Saji. However, TKG has been popular in Japan for decades. 

For centuries, eggs were luxury items in Japan. However, in the late 1800s, Japanese pioneer, the country’s first war reporter and creator of line dancing, Ginko Kishida developed TKG. The taste for TKG spread, and by the 2000s, there were numerous soy sauce brands created specifically to accompany the dish.

Today, along with the different preparation methods, there are numerous toppings with TKG. Some of the most popular include furikake (a popular seasoning blend), katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes) and natto (fermented soybeans).