Imagine if a food you ate every day were suddenly unavailable, say, hamburgers, just to pick an example. With no more hamburgers available, restaurants would do their best with alternatives, bringing out, say, pork burgers or lamb burgers or veggie burgers. Consumers would probably be bummed about not being able to order their favorite food, but they’d muddle through somehow. This is basically what happened when Mad Cow Disease fears caused Japan to halt all imports of beef from the U.S., which rendered one of Japan’s most popular dishes, gyudon or beef bowl, extremely rare. Beef bowl is the quintessential home-grown fast food in Japan, a simple dish of stewed beef and onions on steaming hot rice that costs around $3.50 and can be wolfed down in about two minutes — I like mine with raw egg poured over it so the rice sticks together nicely while eating with chopsticks. Restaurant chains like Yoshinoya served millions of bowls every day before it all came to a screeching halt two years ago, when the ban went into effect. Finally, though, beef imports have resumed and you can get a delicious bowl of the artery- clogging stuff once again. I was so happy to have my old friend back again, I had to snap a picture for posterity.
Here my son reinacts an exciting scene from Star Wars Episode II.