Raw Eggs On Rice: Heard About This Unique Japanese Breakfast?
Image Credit: Tomago Kake Gohan, a raw egg and sticky rice combination.

It is not uncommon to find eggs on the breakfast table in most households around the world. However, each culture has their own way of whipping up eggs and cooking them. But what if we tell you that there are those who like to eat their eggs raw? Tamago Kake Gohan, Japan’s classic breakfast dish, is made using uncooked eggs and rice.

While there are plenty of ways to cook eggs these days - be it an omelette, a poached egg or the boiled one - the Japanese people like to eat eggs raw. Wondering how this came into being? Japan’s obsession with fish dates back to ancient times when Buddhist philosophies began prevailing in the country. Slaughter of animals for food was considered a sin and eggs were regarded as sacred food, only to be offered to the lord.

Gradually, this perception changed, and eggs were slowly incorporated into regular diets, eventually becoming an integral part of Japanese meals. However, this is not when the iconic breakfast dish was born. It was much later - in the 19th Century - that a man named Ginko Kishida invented this unique dish. He was popular for a variety of reasons, one of them being that he was the first war reporter of Japan. But his most highlighted accomplishment in the culinary field was definitely the creation of eggs on rice or Tamago Kake Gohan.

The dish was created by a hit and trial method when Ginko decided to top his cooked rice with two or three raw eggs. The end result was quite satisfying for him, and he ended up urging people to give it a try. Slowly, the dish was popularised when it was published in an issue of a magazine. While the dish is really simple, consisting of merely two or three ingredients, it was the delicious taste that left everyone in awe.

Initially, it was just eggs and rice. The rice used was a special short-grained sticky variety that is locally grown in Japan. The starchiness and distinct fragrance of the rice added to the flavour of the entire dish. However, something was still missing. That’s when the Tamago Kake Gohan special soy sauce was concocted. Nothing like the usual soy sauce that we eat today, this one was born out of the need to pair the eggs with something that would help sell the mass produce. The village of Yoshida, called Yoshida Town Unnan City in Shimane, is credited with the creation of this distinct sauce.

The villagers were looking for ways to generate employment and attract young working professionals to their town. In lieu of the same, they discovered this sweet and mellow-tasting soy sauce after a series of experiments. Finally, in May 2002, the Otamahan came into being and complemented the sticky rice and raw egg combination really well. Today, you’d find over 50 varieties of soy sauce that are specially made to be paired with Tamago Kake Gohan. Do you think you’ll be able to try this raw egg and rice now?