[food]* Similar to Korean barbecue and hugely popular in Hokkaido, jingisukan or "Genghis Khan" is a cook-it-yourself dish of thinly-sliced mutton and vegetables grilled on a hot metal dome.
Thinly-sliced mutton is grilled on top of a dome-shaped, heated metal skillet with vegetables (pumpkin, cabbage, mushrooms) around the rim: the idea is for the juices from the mutton to flow down to the vegetables, adding oil and flavour. It is usually "DIY" (similar to Korean barbecue and hot pot) with diners cooking for themselves.
A single-person serving starts from ~¥3,000 (£21.80 / $34.20)
The name derives from the (supposed) resemblance of the dome skillet to a traditional Mongolian soldier's hat, and from the Mongol soldiers' supposed historical preference for lamb. Despite the name, however, the dish actually has no Mongolian links whatsoever - it is thought to have first originated in Tokyo from around the 1930's, only afterwards becoming popular, and finally entrenched, in Hokkaido.
There is no clear evolutionary link between Genghis Khan and other traditional Japanese dishes, and so although the origin remains disputed it is likely that it was simply an independent invention that quickly became popular, and spread.
Genghis Khan is exceptionally popular in Hokkaido and can be found in speciality shops all over the region. You may wish to consider one of the two major beer gardens in Sapporo, however - both are highly regarded by locals and serve the dish along with unlimited draft beer on tap.
Sapporo Beer Garden
Kitashichijo East 9-2-10
Getting there: 10 min. walk from Higashikuyakusho-mae station (Toho Line)
Although not of any particular historical (or current) significance within Japanese cuisine, it is still an innovative and enjoyable twist on traditional meat-grilling and most certainly worth a try. ♥♥♥
Tried Genghis Khan? Where, and what did you think? Do you know of any similar dishes from other regions / cuisines? Send in an e-mail or comment below!