Yakiniku is a Japanese barbeque – a meat feast. We were served trays meat, a plate of vegetables, a bowl of rice and condiments that included soy sauce, garlic, chilli and pepper. Then the fun began!
The grill plate
A convex-shaped, gas-fuelled grill was located on each table in the restaurant. Apparently it is particular to Hokkaido, but also for Genghis Khan-style dishes of grilled mutton. Our instructions were to cook the meat in the middle and the vegetables around the edges, condiments to be added in serving dishes.
The meat and vegetables
Trays of bit-sized meat chunks – pork, mutton and chicken – were delivered to our table. Alongside them, came a bowl of vegetables – onions, cabbage and bean sprouts. The grilling started calmly enough but as the heat accumulated it really got sizzling!
The ingredients were simple and the cooking straightforward. The distinction came when dipping the cooked morsels into a combination of soy sauce and garlic, or soy sauce and chilli, or all three! While the vegetables offered here were quite simple, other venues include things like sliced pumpkin, potato and capsicum. I think there are no limits here – only your imagination.
In this restaurant, guests cook their own meals. As I said it starts out calmly, then builds to a searingly hot crescendo of sizzling and spitting. We cooked with chopsticks which were sometimes a little too short for our manoeuvres across the grill. It certainly kept us engaged though with the constant movement of meat and vegetables across and around the grill.
The origins of yakiniku
A little research into this dish points to debate about its origins. The name itself means “grilled meat”. It seems to have come into popularity in the post-war years and reflects Korean influences. Kimchi is a Korean side dish often offered as an accompaniment.
Our Japanese BBQ was a fun and tasty experience.