Unravel The Mystery Of “Omu-Rice” – A Japanese Lunchtime Value Favorite
GRRrrr. Zzzuurrrrr. Mr. Tanaka glances around the-open concept office. Embarrassment flushes his face. Certainly everyone heard his stomach proclaiming lunchtime. No o-bento today. Our dear fabled sararii man has his mind set on a Japanese lunchtime favorite – omu rice.
After a long morning of working hard, or at least trying to look the part, throngs of office workers head out for relief from the office. Some crack open their lunch boxes and have a home cooked meal. Others hit the coffee vending machine to grab a little can of coffee and go for a smoke, caffeine and nicotine to keep up with the pressures of the day.
And still others head out to the scores of restaurants that thrive on lunch traffic of the “Office Ladies” and “Salary Men.” And that’s exactly where Mr. Tanaka heads.
Omu Rice gets its name from the shortening of omelet and rice. At its most basic form, hot rice gets enveloped by an omelet and adorned with a squeeze of ketchup. But only the cook’s imagination limits the possibilities on the variations of the dish. Some variations you may encounter include fried rice, instead of plain white rice, wrapped in omelet with ketchup on top. Or you could find yours surrounded by a mushroom cream sauce, or a demi-glace. Or even the ever-present Japanese-style beef curry.
You’ll be sure to get a good helping of rice and a nice bit of protein from the egg, however you take it. And in general, it’s a good deal. You can find prices ranging from 400 yen upwards of 900 yen, and even higher. And it’s pretty filling.
As with the office workers, you’ll be in and out in no time, as preparation is very basic.
And if you’re looking for a way to enjoy authentic modern Japanese food at home, omu-rice is a breeze to make. You simply take some left-over rice (or make it fresh if you must), about a cup full – more if you want – and heat it up. Note that it should be sticky rice or it risks falling all over the place. Then mix up an egg or two in a mixing bowl. Add a drop or two of soy sauce, a pinch of sugar and some pepper. Heat up a small pan and pour the egg into it. Put your rice on a plate. Slide the omelet on top of the rice. Squeeze out some ketchup on top. Voila!
And when you find yourself in Japan, be sure to take time out from the “touristy” activities. Get a bit of insight in the real Japan. The modern Japan. Pop in to an omu-rice shop and see how the daily office workers get on.