For some mysterious reason, this Japanese version of Mongolian cuisine is known by the name of history’s fiercest warrior and pronounced “jingisu kon,” but in no way does that diminish the utter yum of sizzling meats & veggies dipped in a sauce that’s so good you’d die happy drowning in it.
When you sit down at a jingisu kon restaurant, the first thing you do is stuff all your clothing and accessories into a big garbage bag. The ones you can’t decently shed will acquire an aroma of roast lamb that will taunt your fellow subway riders all the way home. After you order up a big platter of raw meat and vegetables, you cook them yourself at the table over a hibachi fitted with a cast iron dome. When each morsel is cooked to perfection, you use it to carry lots and lots of sauce to your mouth. Rinse, repeat, lie face down on the rug.
The restaurant where I ate the feast in the photo above is in Nakano, and is called YukiDaruma because it’s owned by a former sumo wrestler who looks like a Japanese snowman. If you’d like to go there the next time you’re in Japan, a map is on my website, The Tokyo Guide I Wish I’d Had.
Special thanks to Shuhei Takei for taking a shot of the food when I was too busy eating.
Read a novel set in Tokyo
Writing mystery books set in Tokyo is mostly what I do, but I also blog about the odd stuff I see every day in Japan. I'm a graduate of Stanford University and the Sendagaya Japanese Institute in Tokyo, and a member of the International Thriller Writers, the Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters In Crime. When I'm not in Tokyo, I live in San Francisco. I also host a travel site called The Tokyo Guide I Wish I'd Had, so if you're headed to Japan and want to check out the places I take my friends when they're in town, take a look!