While helping his parents run their family diner in Mustang, with plans one day to get into journalism, mass communication or advertising, Jeff Chanchaleune never guessed he would wind up being Oklahoma City’s King of Slurp … and much more.

Jeff Chanchaleune wants to show Oklahoma that there “is more to Japanese food than sushi and hibachi.”

Chanchaleune – executive chef and partner of both Gorō Ramen in the Plaza District and the new yakitori house Gun Izakaya in the Paseo Arts District – takes great pride in his babies, which reside in the House of 84 (commonly known as the 84 Hospitality Group). He and his wife, Rachel, also have an adorable baby girl, Marly, who resides in his heart. 

Having his hands full is an understatement when operating two of the hottest spots for Japanese street food in OKC’s urban core. For Chanchaleune, pulling away from the corporate 9-to-5 world and setting his sights on the 24/7 chaos of food service seemed written in the noodles.

“I worked my way through high school and college spending 5½ years at Sushi Neko, then three years at In the Raw in Norman,” Chanchaleune says. “I graduated with my degree [journalism and mass communication at the University of Oklahoma], then bounced around Portland [Oregon] looking for an advertising job. I came back and found a job with Boiling Point Media doing graphic design, art direction and social media and I thought, ‘I’m looking at food all day with these projects; I might as well take the leap.’”

He helped a former business partner open the Kaitaki Ramen food truck, then reconnected with friend Rachel Cope, founder and CEO of 84 Hospitality, with a promise to talk ramen concepts. If you are a ramen follower in the 405, you understand the pop-up dinner sensations from Chanchaleune’s Project Slurp a few years ago. Project Slurp begat Gorō Ramen in 2016 and Gun Izakaya, this year’s sensation.

With all of Chanchaleune’s concepts come first-hand education and an understanding of flavors and techniques.

“Ticket for one to Japan, please” is what Chanchaleune said and did, which resulted in a chance meeting with someone famous in the food world.

“I studied at the Tokyo Sushi Academy at the Tsukiji Market for 10 days,” Chanchaleune says. “While there, I had the opportunity one Tuesday evening to visit ‘Kodama san’ [yakitori master chef Masahiko Kodama, featured in David Chang’s Netflix series Ugly Delicious]. With yakitori, you get your choice of salt [shio] or sauce [tare] on what is grilled.

“At Gun, we choose it for you. If it has skin, it gets salt to keep that nice, crispy texture. For the tare [pronounced tah-ray], ours is based off Kodama san’s recipe. He just gave me the recipe and explained his methods. I changed one thing – but yeah, pretty cool.”

Bringing new flavors and methods to customers is every chef’s responsibility, along with educating customers. Oklahoma City has had a boom this year with innovative restaurant concepts, and patrons flock to these places. Chanchaleune recognizes and embraces his influence in this branch of Japanese cuisine.

“I didn’t expect to get back into food, let alone Japanese cuisine, but I started to have this fascination with Japanese culture and food,” he says. “There is much more to Japanese food than sushi and hibachi. That’s what I want to do – to bring new experiences to Oklahoma City and Oklahoma and educate people on the culture of Japan and all that is great about Japanese cuisine.”

Check out Chanchaleune’s recipe for gyūdon (simmered beef, onion and rice) and pop into Gorō Ramen or Gun Izakaya, where a classy chef conducts a master class with each inspiring dish. 

Glossary

Yakitori – literally meaning grilled chicken, but referring to anything skewered.
Izakaya – a small-plate Japanese restaurant.
Shio – a salt-blend seasoning used in yakitori grilling
Tare – A cooked sauce blend that the skewers are dunked and basted in while grilling.


Gyudon is a dish I discovered in Japan. I had always heard and read about it but had never really eaten it until my trips to Japan. It’s simmered beef and onions over rice. It’s true, simple comfort food that you can get just about any time of day and on almost any block in Japan. Depending on what area you are in, the ones I’ve gone to in Tokyo were open 24 hours. It’s fast food, but not heavy to where it makes you feel bloated. There are two particular shops I would go to for Gyudon – Yoshinoya and Matsuya. The former is the most popular. Yoshinoya is so popular that they serve their Gyudon on Japan Airlines (the best airlines to fly, by the way). However, both are great, especially late night when you’ve had one too many beers or highballs at the karaoke bar or need a quick and hearty breakfast. You can get a complete Gyudon meal for about 540-580 yen, which is approximately $5. That gets you the rice bowl, miso soup and green tea. If beef isn’t for you, thinly sliced pork belly is a great alternative. This recipe takes about 30-45 minutes of prep time and 15-20 minutes to cook.

 2 cups uncooked short grain rice – for serving
 2 tbsp grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
 2 lbs thinly sliced beef – I recommend ribeye or chuck.
 1 lb yellow onions, thick julienne
 1 tsp garlic, minced
 1 ½ cups dashi – homemade is best or you may use Hondashi (see notes)1
  cup mirin
 2 tbsp sake
 1 tbsp sugar
  cup usukuchi soy sauce (see notes)2
 1 tsp sesame oil
 Garnish green onions, sliced
 Garnish toasted sesame seeds
 Garnish beni shoga – red pickled ginger (see notes)3
 Onsen tamago slow cooked egg (optional – see notes)4
 Togarashi shichimi to spice it up (optional)

 

1

Cook your rice.

2

Heat a saute pan on medium-high with grapeseed oil.

3

Add the onions and caramelize lightly.

4

Add your beef, garlic, dashi, mirin, sake, sugar and sesame oil.

5

Stir until well combined and sugar is dissolved.

6

Bring to a simmer then cover with a lid to prevent reduction and evaporation of your tasty simmering liquid.

7

Cook for 15-20 minutes until onions are tender and beef is no longer pink.
click for 15 Minute timer

8

Serve over rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

9

Optional: add a sous vide egg for extra richness and/or togarashi shichimi to spice it up.

Notes
10

Dashi: we make our own at Goro and Gun. It’s a two day process. If you’re up for the challenge, make your own. If not, just buy Hondashi, which is a powder similar to chicken bouillon and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

11

Usukuchi soy sauce is a light colored soy sauce. It tastes the same if not better than regular soy sauce. I use this to keep the dish from being so dark in color.

12

Beni shoga: I make my own at Gun Izakaya. We julienne our ginger by hand then pickle it with vinegar and beet juice for color, instead of red food coloring like the commercially produced product. Store bought beni shoga taste just as great and it complements this dish really well.

13

Onsen tamago is essentially just a sous vide egg. It’s called onsen because you can put an egg in a Japanese hot spring to cook it slowly, which is a similar process to a sous vide before modern technology. Heat an 8-quart water bath to 167°F, add 4-6 large eggs, and cook for 12 minutes. Shock immediately.

Ingredients

 2 cups uncooked short grain rice – for serving
 2 tbsp grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
 2 lbs thinly sliced beef – I recommend ribeye or chuck.
 1 lb yellow onions, thick julienne
 1 tsp garlic, minced
 1 ½ cups dashi – homemade is best or you may use Hondashi (see notes)1
  cup mirin
 2 tbsp sake
 1 tbsp sugar
  cup usukuchi soy sauce (see notes)2
 1 tsp sesame oil
 Garnish green onions, sliced
 Garnish toasted sesame seeds
 Garnish beni shoga – red pickled ginger (see notes)3
 Onsen tamago slow cooked egg (optional – see notes)4
 Togarashi shichimi to spice it up (optional)

Directions

1

Cook your rice.

2

Heat a saute pan on medium-high with grapeseed oil.

3

Add the onions and caramelize lightly.

4

Add your beef, garlic, dashi, mirin, sake, sugar and sesame oil.

5

Stir until well combined and sugar is dissolved.

6

Bring to a simmer then cover with a lid to prevent reduction and evaporation of your tasty simmering liquid.

7

Cook for 15-20 minutes until onions are tender and beef is no longer pink.
click for 15 Minute timer

8

Serve over rice and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.

9

Optional: add a sous vide egg for extra richness and/or togarashi shichimi to spice it up.

Notes
10

Dashi: we make our own at Goro and Gun. It’s a two day process. If you’re up for the challenge, make your own. If not, just buy Hondashi, which is a powder similar to chicken bouillon and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

11

Usukuchi soy sauce is a light colored soy sauce. It tastes the same if not better than regular soy sauce. I use this to keep the dish from being so dark in color.

12

Beni shoga: I make my own at Gun Izakaya. We julienne our ginger by hand then pickle it with vinegar and beet juice for color, instead of red food coloring like the commercially produced product. Store bought beni shoga taste just as great and it complements this dish really well.

13

Onsen tamago is essentially just a sous vide egg. It’s called onsen because you can put an egg in a Japanese hot spring to cook it slowly, which is a similar process to a sous vide before modern technology. Heat an 8-quart water bath to 167°F, add 4-6 large eggs, and cook for 12 minutes. Shock immediately.

GYUDON (BEEF BOWL) RECIPE