Wednesday, November 24, 2004


For those who absolutely hate this Japanese cuisine, I posted a small photo :)

Here comes the dish which used to provoke a controversy between some of my American friends and me. This is Japanese kids’ favorite, and as an adult now, I still crave for this every now and then. It’s called omuraisu --- omu from “omelet” and raisu from “rice.” This is basically fried rice (most often, with tiny chicken pieces and chopped onion) seasoned with salt+pepper and ketchup and wrapped in a thin sweet omelet.

But to my American friends, this was a big no-no. They couldn’t stand the idea of the combination of 1) ketchup and rice, 2) ketchup-flavored rice and sweet omelet and 3) sweet omelet and ketchup. I would say, “Why, don’t you like ketchup on scrambled eggs?” Then they went, “Ketchup on scrambled eggs? Yuuuuuuck. Hell NO!!”

I found an interesting
thread (to me, at least) on this omuraisu issue. Gee, foodblogging has really broadened my horizons, and still is. Until I read this thread, I thought all Americans were ketchup freaks!!

Anyway, back to omuraisu. I, of course, don’t mean to force people to eat or love omuraisu, but I just want to say that it’s not as bad as just eating cooked white rice with ketchup poured on top, if that’s what you think it is. As someone said in the above forum, the rice is cooked with other things (usually chicken and onion) and it really makes a difference. For those who don’t like ketchup on top, demiglace sauce is another choice. At the Izakaya pub where I work, they use both ketchup and demiglace. Traditionally, the ketchp-flavored fried rice is wrapped with a thin omelet, but recently some make a soft, thicker omelet and cut it open on top of a heap of ketchup rice. For that type of omuraisu, I prefer demiglace sauce.

Well, sorry if I hurt your feeling by posting about something you consider yucky, but just for those who love omuraisu like I do, here’s another pic.

Whoops! Sorry, I posted a bigger one !

Another interesting site I found about omuraisu. (Sorry, in Japanese, but see photos.) Hey, omuraisu lovers, check this out!


ting-aling said...

Oh Obachan, this time I think you and my son can live together. Actually, my two kids..they eat anything with ketchup...

Fish Fish said...

Obachan, u could hv posted the pics bigger. The top one was absolutely lovely. I love~ omurice. They r not just ketchup and egg. I've tried many omurice, and I think my favorite will be dry curry rice with white sauce or curry sauce topping. Tomato sauce rice ok for me, but I'm not too much into tat. Heee... I prefer tomato gravy noodle.

Dennis Mai said...

Interesting...I have to say, it doesn't sound very appetizing, but I'd try it!

pinkcocoa said...

hi hi
omuraisu is high on top of my comfort food list! I made this a long while ago too. Too bad I dont know how to make demiglace sauce else it would have been really delicious!

I watched a Japanese drama (sorry, cant remember the name) and the omuraisu featured in the drama looked so delicious with demiglace! I wanted to have that everyday! :p

Long Chicken said...

I'm sorry. I don't like omuraisu. But your pictures are definitely not offensive. I think it's the greasiness of the rice/omlette combination that puts me off as well as the sweetness of the omlette. Maybe I just haven't eaten high-quality omuraisu. I do love ketchup with scrambled eggs, though! Many other Americans I know do, too. I don't know anyone who doesn't like ketchup. But Japanese ketchup is much sweeter than American Heinz ketchup. Japanese ketchup tastes a lot like Hunt's ketchup in the US--a bit too sweet for me. I think only Heinz is real ketchup!
Do you eat sunny-side-up eggs with shouyu?

obachan said...

Wow, I’m happy to have so many comments! :D

> ting-aling --- Hmmmm, looks like I have so much in common with your kids. Hey, why don’t you adopt me as your another daughter and feed me with your wonderful meals? ;)

> fish fish --- Thanks. This time, I didn’t burn the omelet. Haha.. Tomato gravy noodle sounds interesting.

> Dennis --- Yeah, I know you’re adventurous. Your challenging spirit results in all those creative vegan dishes, right? : )

> pinkcocoa --- Glad to find another omuraisu lover! Was that Japanese drama “Tampopo?”

> Long Chicken --- Hi. Thanks for commenting. No apologies. Everyone has the right to have his/her own preferences, I guess. It’s nice to hear that many Americans love ketchup with scrambled eggs. I am a Heinz lover, too.
OK, now that you brought up the sunny-side-up issue….. FOR ME IT’S DEFINITELY GOT TO BE SHOUYU (soy sauce)!!!! Oh, I would even fight Bob Sapp if he poured worcester sauce over my sunny-side up. : )

ting-aling said...

Oh Ting Aling, I was trying to give you a hint to adopt them actually :-). I need a break haha.

obachan said...

> ting-aling --- Ahhhhhh….

> Jonny --- Well, I think omuraisu is, but I’m not sure if grilled tuna sandwiches are so omnipresent. At least I haven't seen them here in this town.

pinkcocoa said...

No. It's not Tampopo. It's called "ランチの女王". I hope you can read this. I copied and pasted from other website :p

Ms One Boobie said...

Ohhhhhhhhh... i love omurice..!! i was first introduced to omurice.. when i had my first meal in a japanese restaurant.. and it was cheap.. so i had that.. yer know how it is.. when you first started working.. and donch have so much money.. hehe!! But i still love omurice till now.. :) Eggs and ketchup for me anytime.. :) Bring them on.. ;)

obachan said...

> pinkcocoa --- Oh, yeah, I heard about that drama. It was my colleague’s favorite.

> MrsTweety --- Wow, so nice to find another omuraisu lover! I’m glad to hear that your first experience with Japanese food was omuraisu and you liked it. BTW, we have many different kinds of omuraisu in Japan these days and some of them are unbelievably expensive!

Ms One Boobie said...

Hey.. Obachan.. :)
I would love to try other kinds of Omu-rice.. :) I'm pretty adventurous with my food.. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Obachan, I came across your blog today and I am enjoying myself so much reading about your adventures in Japan. Thank you for sharing.

I am a big fan of Omuraisu too. Ketchup goes well with eggs and rice. Sometimes if I have no time to cook, I put a fried egg on top of rice and add ketchup. The soft egg yolk mixed with ketchup is glorious. I've also added ketchup to omelet before frying, it grosses people out but I like it. So omuraisu is a logical food to me, and I absolutely love it.


obachan said...

> MrsTweety --- Being adventurous makes life exciting, right?

> Umami --- Hello. Thanks for dropping by!! Glad to find another omuraisu lover! But I’ve never tried adding ketchup to omelet before frying. Hmmmm, you’re another adventurous person ;)

Anonymous said...

Dear Obachan: You made our day! My husband was in Sasebo in 1953 where he was introduced to "ome rice". He always raved about its taste but we could never find it anywhere. Thanks to google, we now have discovered some receipes that I can make here in Florida. He did not remember the ketchup, but it was probably cooked into the rice and was just one of flavors. He remembers putting a small amount of soy sauce on the top of his rice omlet. By the way, what is your receipe for demiglace sauce? A Garden Grannie in Florida

obachan said...

Hi Garden Grannie,
Thanks so much for dropping by! So happy to know that someone is enjoying omelet in Florida :D
About demiglace: Sorry, I don’t make it myself. When I need some at home, I buy canned ones (Heinz or cheaper brand), and at the Izakaya where I work, the chief makes the sauce and I just warm it up to assist when it gets too busy there.

Anonymous said...

I've just had one about 15 mins ago here in Tokyo.
Lovely, came with burger and gravy.
Getting the recipe so I can try recreate it when Im back in England! 

Posted by Sue

Anonymous said...

Hi Sue or SueWarwick,
Nice to hear that you had one in Tokyo, but it came with burger and gravy?! Wow, I've never seen such a combination. Was that some kinda special combo plate? Anyway, I'm glad that you liked it. Good luck recreating it in England! :D 

Posted by obachan

obachan said...

Hi styleconcierge,
Thanks for leaving a message and good luck with your omuraisu! I'm sure it'll taste good with cheese. Let me know how it went. :)

obachan said...

Sorry for getting back to you this late.
You mean the rice wrapped in the omelet was seasoned with white sauce or the rice was seasoned with ketchup but white sauce was poured over the omuraisu? If it was the latter, I guess just regular white sauce would do ... something like this except that many of Japanese white sauce recipes seem to call for chicken stock or consomme powder to add more flavor, and I think it makes a big difference.

Anonymous said...

I love omuraisu! I'm korean and my mom made it before but I didn't really like it then. Then I saw a korean cooking show and it gave a nice recipe and I followed it and it was so good. The trick was adding oyster sauce into the ketchup and also frying the meat in spicy pepper.

I also saw a drama with tasty looking omuraisu. I think in english it was translated "Lunch Queen" but I don't know what it was in Japanese..

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan-

Thanks for posting all of these delicious photos. I'm American and lived in Japan for 4 years and I LOVE Omuraisu. I went regularly to a (fastfood?) chain called Omuraisu Tei in Kyoto. The way they prepared their egg was somewhat differnt- more fluffy and moist like a poached egg. Wish I could found out how they did that. If you ever do, could you please post it? And share your delicious recipes? I'm also dying to learn how to make Kasu Jiru(brings back fond memeries of Japanese New Year)

Arigatou! Ogenki de ne:)

Anonymous said...

I believe another drama that had omuraisu was called 'Lunch Queen,' starring Satoshi Tsumabuki! Instead of ketchup however, he added demiglace, the French brown stock sauce.


obachan said...

Hi Ken and anonymous commenters,

Sorry I neglected responding to your comments. Omuraisu is always an interesting topic, because even though it doesn't look/smell as gross as other Japanese foods like natto or seaweed, many non-Japanese people dislike it. So I'm tempted to post about it again sometime soon, and try making a soft-omelet-on-ketchup-flavored-fried-rice type omuraisu.

BTW, anonymous commenter, if you're still interested in making kasu-jiru,
(sorry about this extremely late response)
maybe you've already seen this, but my kasu-jiru post is here:
Yeah, it doesn't have a recipe or instruction. Sorry.

Here's a recipe I found:,1718,157166-253204,00.html
To add to this recipe:
it is recommended to take out kobu kelp before the soup starts boiling. Also, it is common to add thinly sliced pork or salmon in addition to vegetables.

xtinehlee said...

Obachan--I LOVE ketchup, and thank you for this omuraisu post! I was craving this food SO much while at my writing retreat (where we are not allowed to cook--for other writers this was a treat, for me, I was missing my kitchen)...looking up this post made me withstand my craving until I got home!

(and now, I am making omurice--my first meal at home). :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Obachan!
I was also watching "Lunch Queen" when i heard about omurice! i plan on making it soon, it sounds like a nice meal! I'm new to japanese cuisine, and i've only had sushi of various types and the typical "americanized" food. What's another yummy and fairly easy to make japanese dish for a hungry college student? ;-P

Akemi said...

Hi Obachan! Your omuraisu looks delicious! And I wouldn't mind if the pictures were bigger! ;)
By the way, I made the macha mable cake and it was absolutely great, just the way I thought when I saw your cake! There were holes in my cake too! :p Anyway thanks for sharing the recipe!

obachan said...

Sorry I didn’t respond to you earlier! So glad to find another omuraisu lover. ;)

Anonymous commenter
Thanks for your comment. Now we have the re-run of Lunch Queen here in Kochi on weekdays and I envy their omuraisu so much.
Easy to make Japanese food? Well, it’s difficult to recommend one because I don’t know what kind of Japanese ingredients you don’t like. Sometimes it’s pretty unpredictable, like this omuraisu. It was easy for me to imagine non-Japanese people hating natto or umeboshi (pickled plum) or seaweed, but I never expected that this omuraisu could be so offensive to some people. Anyway, from my experience, almost everyone liked teriyaki chicken when I made it in the U.S., so it’s the safest thing to try, I guess. The recipe is here. I usually add grated garlic, too. (Hope you can find mirin over there, because it really makes a big difference. I like teriyaki with chicken thighs, but they may not be coated with sauce very well without mirin.)

Hi! So glad to hear that you liked the matcha marble cake. Thanks for trying and letting me know about the result. :)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the recipe Obachan!
I actually like seaweed, but i don't think i can buy it here. I will try the chicken teriyaki though, thanks :)

Anonymous said...

OMG! i LOVE LOVE LOVE ome rice!! it's hard to find real japanese food in washington. i lived in okinawa for some years. i miss the food and the different flavored teas. OME RICE ROCKS!

Anonymous said...

I'd probably have slapped the naysayers on the head and forbidden them to eat spanish rice or omelettes with tomatoes in my sight ever again. Because.... ketchup (pickled tomato), rice, eggs .... its just another combination of those.

I like ome-rice better with furikake (seaweed bits seasoning). However, when I make it with ketchup, I prefer the ketchup mixed in the rice rather than slathered on top.

Most recipes I've seen are "end of the week special" with bits of whatever (chicken, beef, broccoli, cucumber, green onion bits, etc) -- very much a "okasa-mom's" personal recipe special.

Anonymous said...

Follow up (hit the send button too fast).

At my household, we also eat scrambled eggs with shoyu and furikake of various kinds (of course, we also eat it Canadian style with HP Sauce - no food nationality is safe from us).

I have the same opinion of ketchup as one previous poster -- brands matter and many ketchup brands are far too sweet for my liking. If I sweeten the egg "tamago" style, I prefer a "bitier" ketchup over a too-sweet one.

In recent issue about japan, some restaurant in the Ginza claims to have invented them (*cough* bs * cough) but my japanese wife's grandma made them and I've also seen that anime series where ome-rice plays a role ("Canvas 2").

obachan said...

* Sorry, I didn’t respond earlier. I tend to forget about this post because it was initially posted about 2 years ago, but it’s so nice to keep receiving comments. I never thought omuraisu can be such an interesting topic, but look how many comments this post got! :D

anonymous commenter
Good luck. ;)

I envy you. Okinawa is one place I dream about visiting someday. You must have had a wonderful time there. And it makes me feel good to know that there’s such an enthusiastic omuraisu fan in Washington.

anonymous commenter
Omuraisu with furikake?! Now, it’s something new to me (but I might have seen that combination in someone’s lunch box long time ago…) Scrambled eggs with shoyu and furikake is another new finding. How international! :D
There seem to be several restaurants claiming to be the inventor of omuraisu. The one in Osaka says they invented it in 1915 or 1916. Wow!
BTW, thanks for the info. about the anime. Most people mention tampopo or lunch queen when talking about omuraisu, but I’ve never heard of this anime before.

Anonymous said...

Obachan i read about Omuraisu in a manga called Meru Puri (i am American) and i didnt think it was real until i googled it and then here is your site!!! X3 Just looking at it makes my mouth water!! I love Ketchup on eggs!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!! i would really love to make this...right now..but we dont have any ketchup in my house!! *sigh* I shall return to your site

obachan said...

Hi Ilona,
Gee, it's amazing that so many peopel are interested in omuraisu, whether liking or disliking it. And many of them were first introduced to this funny Japanese invention through manga, anime or TV drama! Hope you get a chance to make one and enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

Hi obachan i still have yet to obtain ketchup..i have asked a lot of my friends who were raised in american culture and they hate ketchup on eggs, my family is German but i grew up in America know :D i love ketchup on eggs! I love Japanese culture i hope to transfer to Tokyo university one day and become a translator!! Do you have a recipe for the omuraisu?? :)

obachan said...

I guess this is pretty close to what I do. But this flipping-over technique is a bit difficult. It's easier to place the rice vertically on the egg (instead of horizontally as in this site), bring right and left edges of the omelet onto the rice, bring a plate to the left side of the omelet (with the rim of the plate almost touching the frying pan), and flip over the frying pan to transfer omuraisu onto the plate. Gee.... I can't explain it with words!! Maybe one day, when I have an omuraisu-craving, I'll take photos and explain this procedure.

Anonymous said...

You should be having cravings right now!! >w< i would really like to see how it is done!! really truly!! Hey Obachan i am going to the store today so i will get ketchup!!

obachan said...

Sorry, I can't control my cravings, so forgive me. This is all I can do now.
*The red stuff is not mentaiko but ketchup-flavored rice.
Use a turner (or chopsticks) to bring the edges of the omelet onto the rice.
Actually the 3rd illustration is not very accurate. You are supposed to keep the plate close to the frying pan, as in the 2nd illustration, so the omuraisu will be hiding under the frying pan when flipped over -- you won't be able to see it like this. Oh well.
At least, I think my drawings are better than my Engrish anyway. :P

Unknown said...

I was just trying to decide what to make for dinner, and I decided on an omelette because my eggs were going to go bad in two days. Then I thought "Hey, why don't I make omuraisu?" because I had leftover fried rice from a Chinese takeout order earlier in the week. I had a little trouble flipping the omelette, but it was SO DELICIOUS. I think I have a new favourite food. I can't wait to try making other kinds of omuraisu! Regretably I didn't put ketchup on until the last few bites, and I should have STARTED with ketchup on it. It was so delicious!! I can't get over it! :3

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Unknown said...

I was stationed on Okinawa during 1962&1963. Omuraisu was a favorite dish. It was often consumed with local beer as a lunch. During that time period it was one of my meals of choice. The rice often included small amounts of meat and a good mix of veggies.


Anonymous said...


For the All American taste try ome rice with ground beef instead of chicken. Break meat and sauté with onions,mushrooms, green pepper and green peas. Finish it as regular ome rice. Kids, grandkids and now g-grandkids eat it with gusto.h