When I was 16, I traveled alone to Okinawa, Japan to visit a friend who had recently moved there. It was an absolutely incredible trip, and I’m very lucky to have had such an experience at a young age. My family has always traveled a lot, but as a shy 16 year old (who had never even ordered for myself at a restaurant), the solo trip was life-changing. It only took one major airport break-down and the encouragement of a very kind pilot to safely get me through Narita Airport.
As well as a lifetime-worth of of self-confidence, a new-found obsession with Japan, and a suitcase full of stationery, I brought home Taco Rice. This was also one of the first things I ever cooked for myself and shared it with my family as soon as my flight landed. Recently sharing one of my favorite family recipes, Oven Hot Dogs, made me want to divulge more of the staples of my house. Like OHDs, I’m not sure what makes Taco Rice delicious, but it is. Joseph even had me cook this the first time I met my now-mother-in-law. I told my dad I would be posting the recipe today, and he said, “Oh my gosh! I haven’t had Taco Rice in so long! I have to make some of that now.” It’s good.
My friend Chantell, whose wonderful family I stayed with for the week, took me to a little restaurant popular among the Americans there. Anyone who has lived in Okinawa may know of this dish already. The restaurant might have been called “Pizza House,” but I could be getting that confused with a restaurant in Italy dubbed “Spaghetti House” by my fellow Americans. They specialized in pizza, but Chantell was familiar with the restaurant and promptly ordered us Taco Rice. Thanks, Chantell!
It’s simple. You can add onions, avocado, hot sauce or whatever else you want to it. I’m sure it would be wonderful that way, but I can’t do it myself. To me, Taco Rice is perfect as it is because it will forever represent that wonderful trip.
1 lbs. ground beef
3 c cooked rice (1 c raw)
taco seasoning of your choice (This is my favorite)
cheddar cheese, grated
Prepare rice. Brown ground beef and seasoning according to package or recipe directions.
Make a mount of rice on a plate and top with ground beef. Layer on chopped lettuce, grated cheddar cheese, and diced tomato. Pick up a spoon and enjoy!