Yakiniku is by far one of the most interesting dining experiences you will have in Japan. With Japan renowned for excellent service and presentation, it may seem a little odd to find yourself facing a plate of raw meat and/or vegetables to be cooked yourself on your own private bbq.
But that's Yakiniku, and the onus of being left to your own devices at a restaurant is quite refreshing as long
as your chopstick dexterity is sound and you are careful to keep the flames under control. More on that later.
Yakiniku is essentially recognized as Korean BBQ dining though the origins of the style are not entirely clear. Traditionally it involved grilling bite size pieces of meat (usually beef or pork) on a bbq prepared for you by the restaurant.
As Yakiniku gained popularity in Japan, the menus became more diverse, to such an extent in fact that now there seems to be no real reason to expect a standard set of choices from any restaurant. All now offer a generous choice of vegetables for grilling, some offer seafood such as crab, squid and octopus. Many will provide a choice of salads, soups and Korean-influenced dishes, none of which need to grace the BBQ at all.
In terms of beverages, the standards are of course available, but like with any BBQ, beer is probably the best choice. Served ice cold, it is a perfect complement to grilled meat, and great for cooling the hands when they've had too much BBQ heat.
Which brings us back to the fire. Much of the meat you will find to be quite fatty, which aside from adding a lot of flavour tends to drip down into the coals and ignite. This will turn your meat black very quickly so is best avoided. Move your food around as much as you can, turning it over regularly to avoid the problem. Having good chopstick skills is definitely an advantage, but not a necessity.
Yakiniku is a relaxed, take it at your own pace style of dining. You are free to order as much or as little as you want and cook it at your leisure to your own requirements. Best enjoyed with a couple of super chilled beers, it is not only tasty, but engaging and fun for small and large groups.
Yakiniku Restaurants Asahikawa City Restaurants
View the Food Gallery Yakiniku Gallery (coming soon)