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Jun 5, 2008 01:55 PM

Mongolian BBQ, Japanese BBQ, Korean BBQ?

What is the difference? The is a new Chinese Buffet close by that boasts they have all of the above. They also advertise they serve beef steaks and Lamb steaks. Now there are a few buffets that I like, but they are a bit risky. This one intrigued me though because of the BBQ items. Please explain the differences to me.

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  1. While Koreans do have a form of real BBQ (Slabs of meat or whole animal, low and slow), it is pretty rare, and I don't know enough about it to say anything more.

    What most people call Korean BBQ is actually grilling.

    In general Korean Grill is using thin cuts of meat that can be grilled quickly, usually in just minutes.

    The meat is usually marinated for anywhere from 1 to 48 hours, but for some dishes just simply seasoned meat is used.

    The most often used marinade is a balance of salty, sweet, and sour elements achieved by using a mix of soy sauce, sweetener, and rice vinegar/wine with
    Garlic, black pepper (or ground peppercorn) and sesame oil mixed in. The sweetener can be any one or combination of white sugar, brown sugar, honey, malt syrup, or sweet/semi sweet fruit (Asian pear, semi sweet apple, or kiwi are possibilities).
    Other marinade ingredients can be ginger, red chili powder or paste, onion, green onion, chives, stock (anchovy, beef or pork stock), doenjang (Korean Miso) or whatever the cook decides to add in.

    The marinated meat is then either cooked in the kitchen on a grilling rack over a charcoal stove/grill (or more often now over propane/butane), or at the table on a grill plate fit over a charcoal or gas burner, and eaten with rice and a host of small dishes (ban chan) of fresh, seasoned, and or pickled delights.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hannaone

      H, I had no idea Koreans had their form of low and slow. If anybody knows more about this, please add your two cents.

      1. re: Miss Needle

        In the Three Kingdoms period, the royal Kitchens would often roast whole boar or ox either on spits over a pit fire, or in a huge kiln type oven. This practice died out for the most part in more modern times when resources were stripped from Korea to feed and supply China and Japan.
        Some very expensive upscale restaurants in Korea are reviving the ancient Royal Banquet dining, and whole roasted animal is sometimes featured.
        Unfortunately that is about the extent of what I know about it.

    2. Mongolian BBQ:

      Japanese BBQ might just be yakitori -- meat on skewers.

      Korean BBQ might just be they have cooked kalbi -- shortribs marinated in some of the ingredients hannaone mentioned above

      4 Replies
      1. re: kc72

        Yakitori is not "meat on skewers". It means "grilled poultry"- usually chicken. Though, it's a general term and sometimes includes bits of pork and beef. Restaurants that call themselves "yakitori", might serve items grilled alone or on skewers. Many, but not all, yakitori restaurants serve skewers. I suspect thought, that Japanese BBQ really refers to Korean style (ubiquitous in Japan), albeit with Japenese style sauces since there really is no Japanese style BBQ and do it yourself styles are Korean ethnic places. In Japan at least, Mongolian means they have lamb/mutton as the main meat.

        1. re: kc72

          "Korean BBQ might just be they have cooked kalbi -- shortribs marinated in some of the ingredients hannaone mentioned above"

          Kalbi is not the only meat used. They use a different cut in bulgogi. Chicken and pork are also common meats used in Korean BBQ. Plus there are other organ meats.

          1. re: moh

            I know there are lots of other meats in Korean BBQ, but in my experiences at these Asian buffet places -- Korean BBQ has always just been kalbi.

            1. re: moh

              I've seen this in some generic "Asian" restaurants as opposed to actual Korean restaurants. Sometimes they will also offer bulgogi, but that seems to be rare.

          2. korean and japanese bbq have been pretty well covered in this thread. i'll just chime in re: "mongolian" bbq. i don't think it's a true bbq at all, at least as i've seen it done in the US. it's meat and veggies cooked quickly on very hot metal (iron?) surface. there's no open flame. a lot of places let you choose the raw ingredients and the sauce (i.e. fire & ice in cambridge, MA) and a chef cooks it in front of you. the places i've seen don't necessarily use mutton or lamb.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cimui

              Yeah, that's what I think of when I see Mongolian BBQ in the US. It's more like a teppanyaki.

            2. Thanks for the info! I wonder how they pull this off at this place. I may have to give it a shot.

              3 Replies
              1. re: danhole

                It sounds like a common denominator place trying to get in as many unsuspecting people rather than one trying to excel in all styles of asian BBQ. Sounds more avoidable to me. Just stick with the texas BBQ.

                1. re: E Eto

                  thats exactly how i feel about the mongolian bbq places i've been to here in the state. its mediocre, and more about the show then anything. kind of like the run of the mill hibachi places i've seen popping up like dandelions in my area.

                  1. re: CPunches

                    bd's mongolian bbq is entering our market. It's a place where you walk through the buffet line and choose your vegetabes, proteins and sauce and the "chef" tosses it together on the flat top. My kids like it but I refuse to eat there. This is not my style of restaurant. Just another big box franchise that we could do without.