Apr 1, 2016
Yakiniku refers to grilled meat dishes, but the preferred meat of choice is beef. We speak to three yakiniku connoisseurs and their philosophy behind great-tasting grilled beef.
Did you know that 29 August is the official “Yakiniku Day” in Japan? In 1993, the All Japan Yakiniku Association declared 29 August as “Yakiniku Day” as the date 829 can be (roughly) read as ya-(tsu)ki-ni-ku (8 = ya, 2 = ni, 9 = ku). However, the origins of yakiniku date back to way before the ‘90s.
While there is some dispute about whether yakiniku originates from Japan or Korea, the general consensus is that this dish was born in post-war Japan. Today, yakiniku commonly refers to the cooking of bite-sized meat (typically beef and offal) on gridirons over a flame. In most yakiniku restaurants in Japan, diners would order several types of raw ingredients, which are then cooked by the diners on a grill built into the table. The ingredients are usually paired with a variety of sauces, with the most common being a blend of Japanese soy sauce mixed with sake, mirin, sugar, garlic, fruit juice, and sesame.
So, what makes great yakiniku? Most people would tell you it’s the quality of beef you use, but that’s only half the story. The connoisseurs we speak to each have a unique perspective on what makes a good yakiniku, great. Read on to find out more.
（Text Vanessa Tai Photography Charles Chua/A Thousand Words）