Having missed out at a local Yakiniku restaurant last night I was quite eager to find one, the tantalising smell from the one that got away had etched the future prospect of charred tasting grilled meat to the forefront of my mind.
Yakiniku is a popular Japanese meal inspired by Korean barbeque, Yakiniku requires a significant amount of customer interaction as the diner cooks the small pieces of meat, or vegetable on a table top brazier. Considering I am about to cook myself a Korean inspired meal in Japan, it seems fitting the yakiniku restaurant I found should be Hawaiian themed. The restaurant was pretty classy for a Hawaiian themed venue, the waiters are in suitable tropical shirts and the occasional faint plunk of the ukulele faintly audible in the background. Not that I was paying that much attention to the world around me, I had cold beer and a gas fired brazier in the centre of my table. I was moments away from a meal I had been obsessing about for the past 24 hours.
With my feet are tucked under the recessed table, throbbing lightly as a consequence of all the walking, I’m kind of happy that I had to take my shoes off to sit at the Japanese style table. As the coals settle in the table top brazier, and as I settle into my pilsner I start to cook the protein items, I take my time, so I could savour the flavour fully before trying one of the other items, using the rice and mixed kimuchi to clear my palate and further savour the flavour.
The meats marinade was awesome! Although the extraction above the brazier did a fantastic job pulling away the smoke it couldn’t pull away the smell of the meat searing, the beef rib with it’s vein of succulent fat was my favourite, delivering that sweet, slightly burnt smell that comes from a soy and sugar based marinade. The prawns are split down the back through the shell to remove their waste tube, the shell blistering and blackening delivering an unmistakable seafood aroma, reminiscent to me of an oven roasted lobster shell, the flesh inside is sweet and juicy. While the local pork had a tremendous pork flavour, the darker meat rich and succulent, the delicious fat rendering, causing little flames to caress the surface of the brazier.
I was in a foodie heaven of my own delivery, relaxed and enjoying each bite, the almost glutinous Japanese rice and chilli cured vegetables adding to the smoky essence imparted into the meat. I know I’m going to want to Yakiniku again soon.