Tidbits on how best to enjoy delicious Genghis Khan (Mongolian barbecue) in Sapporo

How best to enjoy delicious Genghis Khan (Mongolian barbecue), Hokkaido’s local dish

Genghis Khan (Mongolian barbecue) is a Hokkaido local dish that consists of grilling mutton and vegetables on a special grill that has a raised mound in the center. Not only do Sapporoites enjoy drinking beer and eating Genghis Khan in restaurants, but they also enjoy barbecuing it outdoors while camping or viewing the cherry blossoms. Also, many households own a dedicated grill just for making their own Mongolian barbecue at home. It is regarded as the most-loved soul food of the city by residents, as you can even find disposable grills for Mongolian barbecue in Sapporo’s hardware stores, while some restaurants serve the cuisine on a grill shaped like the prefecture of Hokkaido.
The types of meat used include lamb, which is soft and doesn’t have a gamey taste, and mutton, which is the meat from an older sheep with a unique and gamey taste. Choose from seasoned meat marinated in sauce, or unseasoned meat that you dip into a sauce after cooking. The flavor of the sauce and the way the meat is cut varies by restaurant and supplier. A Mongolian barbecue can be capped off by cooking udon or ramen noodles in the leftover juices, or adding tea to the sauce and drinking it. Each restaurant has their own unique way of presenting the meal, making every outing fun and interesting. Meat is typically imported from New Zealand or Australia, but some restaurants serve rare Suffolk sheep raised locally in Hokkaido. Explore the many restaurants to find your favorite seasoning and way of eating Genghis Khan.

Enjoy casual, DIY-style dining under the open sky in Sapporo. | Feature

Named differently based on age!

Lamb: young sheep less than 1 year of age

Mutton: grown sheep of 1 year of age or older

You’re eating this part of the meat!

Do you prefer seasoned or unseasoned meat?

Different seasonings are used by different Genghis Khan restaurants and suppliers, with some even adding apples to the sauce to make it smooth and mellow. There are two types of meat—seasoned meat which is marinated in sauce beforehand, and unseasoned meat, which you dip in sauce after cooking it. The meat can be chilled and thickly sliced or completely frozen and thinly sliced. There are many ways to enjoy Genghis Khan depending on the combination of cut and seasoning style.

Examples of how to enjoy the meat deliciously

How to eat seasoned meat

Place vegetables in the groove of a hot Mongolian barbecue grill, and place the meat on the center mound. The marinade of the meat will drip down to cover the vegetables, making them much tastier. Add the remaining marinade to cook the vegetables into a stew, or add udon or ramen noodles to taste.

How to eat unseasoned meat

  1. Use the lard provided to coat the entire heated Genghis Khan grill to ensure the food doesn’t burn. (Skip this step if the restaurant doesn’t provide lard).
  2. Cover the Genghis Khan grill with the vegetables and place the meat atop the vegetables to steam it. Once fully cooked, dip the meat in the sauce provided and enjoy.
seasoned meat
unseasoned meat

Bonus Think about this sheep when enjoying delicious Genghis Khan!

The official PR ambassador for the Sapporo Smile campaign, “Genghis Khan no Jin-kun”
Jin-kun is an original character from Hokkaido created with the hope of making people remember their experience of eating Genghis Khan in Hokkaido with a smile.
Genghis Khan no Jin-kun