Yakiniku Lunch menu in Jojoen

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Late autumn back in 2015, I went out for lunch with my staff.

There can be various reasons where It can be hard to chose lunch for everyone.  One of my studio’s staff can’t eat cucumber, another can’t handle spicy food and another can eat neither crab nor shrimp.

Autumn is the season for crab. Thai and Chinese Szechuan cuisine is a good choice to eat but I won’t be able to eat them this time.

That day I was unable to bring up any ideas for my work and I also had a hard time settling for what to eat at lunch. Finally I decided on Yakiniku that everyone love.

And so we went to a Yakiniku restaurant called “Jojoen”.

“Jojoen” is a good place among the Yakiniku franchise restaurants in Japan. Of course the price is a bit steep but you can have some nice Wagyu beef there.

It is not easy to have Wagyu beef simply because you are living Japan. Both Wagyu beef and you might be in Japan but it’s like trying to meet Japan top mangaka or a celebrity. It’s as out of reach as a star in the night sky.

During the early years of my life in Japan I was under the impression that the beefs called “Wagyu” only existed in Japanese myths, like “Amaterasu”. Someone told me it does exist but I never saw it by myself.

“Jojoen” is a good place where you can enjoy “Wagyu beef” for a reasonable price.

And their lunch menu are always thoughtfully chosen. They have very good menu with affordable prices. So it’s now time to go to Jojoen!!! Gogogo!!!

This is Jojoen in Ginza. It’s on the tenth floor.

The inside is very quiet, elegant and nice.

While entering here I imagined the gun shooting scene for my manga’s background.

We ordered the 4 500 yen ($45 USD) menu. At this price you can choose a drink, enjoy some Korean dishes with rice, a few slices of Wagyu beef from three various parts of beef, two small shrimp and a hot O-cha tea with dessert.

Yakiniku is a kind of barbecue similar to the Korean style BBQ. It’s a Japanese adaptation of Korean barbecue born from Korean workers and immigrants arrived in Japan back when the Japanese ruled over the Korean peninsula.

Grilling slices of beef in a fireplace on the table itself.

Meat and garnish are seasoned with salt or soy sauce and when it is grilled you can put some sauce called “Tare sauce”.

It’s good to eat as is but there are many ways to enjoy Yakiniku. You can eat it by wrapping the vegetable leaves around it or simply with rice. My personal recommendation is to eat it with rice.

There are some important rules to enjoy Yakiniku but I’ll save that for next time.

Anyway, the birthplace of the “all popular among Japanese” Yakiniku is the Tsuruhashi Market in Osaka.

In Japan, Korean workers began to cook and grill the cheapest part of the meats left over by Japanese people because they didn’t knew better. Those are “Grubi” and “Hormone”. They were very delicious and became loved by Japanese to finally quickly spread all across Japan.

The characteristic of Yakiniku is that you can eat quite a lot even if it’s not good meat. Even if the meat cuts come from an old cow, the slip properly contains the sweet fat. This is because joints require fat to move. It’s like engine oil.

On addition, seasoning with soy sauce can help to soften the meat even more. Meat is thinly sliced and grilled in front of you. It’s easy to chew so you can eat while feeling the warm and tender tastes. And if it still feel tough, you can wrap the meat in vegetable.

This way the cheap and tough meats turns into a fantastic meals. Just like magic. All kind of meat can be delicious if you grill them Yakiniku style.

But if grilling the meat’s cheapest part Yakiniku style turns it into a good meals, then what will that same Yakiniku do to Wagyu beef? It’s really hard to imagine how truly good the taste is.

At the moment I’m writing these lines, I’m thinking back about it and I really want to go back there to eat it once more.

Here is the menu we ordered.

The soup with seaweed you can see on the right side is called, “Miyeok-guk” (Seaweed soup) also called “Wakame soup” in Japan. It’s a soup made from the beef’s bones with seaweed and a bit of garlic plus sesame oil for aroma. The seaweed soup served here is on a pretty good level in Japan.

“Namul”, called “Namuru” in Japan, is a Korean side-dish made from grass, leaves or seasonal wild herbs from the mountain. They served four kinds of “Namul”. Salade dressing in “Jojoen” is made with Korean sesame oil and salt. It was very delicious.

One of my assistant can’t eat duck meat so I traded it with my beef.

There are three kinds of Kimchi and sauces for the meats. They are all very tasty. And the rice here is also very nice.

In Japanese cuisine, rice is at the basis of everything and all side meals are cooked to go along with rice. You can enjoy the most delicious rice in Japanese restaurants but the rice served in “Jojoen” is on another level.

And we’re now in fall, the season for the rice’s harvest. The seasonal rice has a very great aroma and a chubby shape.

Oh my beef-sama…

It’s such a pleasure to look at it. Of course, it’s a taste from the heavens. The two shrimps by the beef were also delicious.

Before we start to eat, I tell my staff that I thank them very much for all their hard work. I’m very happy to share a nice meal all together.

I ask my assistants if they’d like to eat some more. They wanted to try “Tansio” so I ordered some for two people. 

Tansio is beef tongue flavored with salt.

My wife ordered the extra three-sets of pork (Butaniku Santen Mori). With some cold Korean style soba-noodles called “Naengmyeon”. In Japan they’re called “Reimen”. They are also very delicious.

Butaniku Santen Mori

Reimen

Jojoen’s Reimen is very similar with “Woolaeoak’s Naengmyen” from Korea which is a special restaurant for Naengmyen. That’s why I like it so much.

I’m sure there are Yakiniku restaurants serving even better beef than Jojoen but there are no better Reimen (Naengmyeon) in Japan than those from Jojoen. If you’d like to try Naengmyeon in Japan, I’d recommend Jojoyen’s.

Hot O-cha tea after the meals.

They served yogurt for dessert.

Yakiniku is a very delicious meat dish and Wagyu beef is one of finest beef produced in Japan. Jojoen have both and you can enjoy them at a good price.

After such a nice meal we go back to our studio and work hard on our manga.

– Boichi

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