05: Taco on Rice? Really!

Writer: Tamaki Kashiwagi

Those who have been to Japan may know we, the Japanese, can be crazy sometimes. The Manga fantasies, costume play, Otaku culture, fans of Hanshin Tigers, etc. We can be wild on food as well.


Previously, I introduced a type of Japanese fast food, “Donburi”, the rice toppings. Today I will introduce a “new wave Donburi”, which has become popular among the young Japanese. It is called “Taco rice”. As you may have guessed, it’s the typical Mexican food, Taco on rice, instead of shells or Tortillas!! The Japanese cannot do away rice even for the Mexican food. You know our obsession over rice. I suppose even a Chihuahua could not have imagined this.


Originally, it was a local food of Okinawa, a beautiful island located at far west Japan. In recent years, it has been introduced to the mainland Japan and became popular. How was the Taco rice born in Okinawa? Okinawa is a popular resort and is also known for the concentration of U.S. foreign military bases. Okinawa has a lot of restaurants that serve tacos because the U.S. soldiers, a lot of who are Latinos, like them. Taco is very popular in the U.S. as a typical Tex-Mex cuisine, a fusion of American and Mexican dishes. In 1984, the Japanese Yen became very strong against the US dollar, and the US military personnel stopped eating out. So an owner of one of the restaurants invented a taco dish with rice in one plate so that the customers could get their stomachs full easily and cheaply. This menu became popular among the U.S. soldiers and spread among the local Okinawans quickly. There is no border for delicious food, isn’t there?


Try easy Taco rice with ready-made seasoning!!

If you have experience in making taco at home, you already got it. You just prepare the stuffing of taco. For those who have never prepared it, first, fry ground meat in a pan and season it. For seasoning, you can buy a ready-made “taco mix” in a supermarket in your neighborhood. It will be easy for you. If not, mix chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, oregano and pepper for seasoning. Don’t forget to add salt. Then, mince the vegetables, such as lettuce, onions and tomatos. Finally, top the vegetables, meat, cheese and salsa (you can use a regular ready-made tomato salsa) on a bowl of rice. Viola! It would be good also to add avocado or fried egg on top.

I recommend you to add a little soy sauce when you cook the meat because the soy sauce and rice are always good friends, and it also matches with the meat like the teriyaki sauce!! It will give the Japanese flavor to taco. The soy sauce will play a “Cupid” for the international marriage between American-Mexican and Japanese.

Taco Rice Ingredients

Steamed rice  300g

Ground beef   150g
Vegetable oil  1tbs
Taco mix   as described in package
Soy sauce   to taste
Lettuce    1/2 package
Onion      1/2
Tomato     1
Shredded Cheese 40g
Salsa       to taste