This is the 8th in the “Lamb Club” series, a standard off-line meeting program.
It was not an off-line meeting, but simply a meeting that my friend Yoko-san suggested that we go eat at a Mongolian restaurant in Nishi-Nippori.
I had just noticed this restaurant on Google Maps and had put it on my list of places I wanted to visit, so it was a good thing I did.
It is strange to call it an “off-line meeting” since I did not put out a call for applications on this site, but Yoko-san and I have been off-line meeting buddies for 10 years. So, it is somehow an off-line meeting.
The name of the restaurant is ”Ikh Mongol”.
It is located near the intersection of Okubashi-dori and Meiji-dori.
It is more of a location for locals, as it is subtly far from stations of all lines.
But then, one after another, customers started to enter the restaurant. And, as I looked at them, I could see that they had Mongolian roots. I guessed it must be because they were wearing Mongolian traditional clothes. They might have come here for an after-party after a wedding or some other celebration.
Inside the restaurant, I took a commemorative photo with Asashoryu (a sumo champion)! The restaurant was decorated with photos of Asashoryu (a former sumo champion). It seems that this restaurant is very important for people from Mongolia.
Yoko-san enjoys watching sumo. She said he was interested in this restaurant because another sumo wrestler from Mongolia was also a patron of this restaurant. Wow.
Come to think of it, the owner of this place also has quite a burly physique. I don’t think I could win a fight with him as a man. He seems to have some knowledge of either Mongolian sumo or Japanese sumo.
Mongolia is well known for its lamb dishes.
However, the restaurant had several dishes that used beef as well as lamb.
In any case, there are so many dishes that are overwhelmingly less well known than Chinese cuisine, etc., that one is left wondering, “Well… what shall I choose?” I am at a loss.In any case, there are so many dishes that are overwhelmingly less well known than Chinese cuisine, etc., that one is left wondering, “Well… what shall I choose?” I am at a loss.
In the case of Chinese cuisine, menus are divided by genre, such as “appetizers (cold dishes),” “stir-fried,” “fried,” “boiled,” “rice and noodles,” etc., and we choose dishes based on this taxonomy. However, this is not the case at Mongolian restaurants.
Well, which one would conflict with the other dishes I ordered? I glanced back and forth between the pages and couldn’t make up my mind.
In the case of these ethnic restaurants, there is something we have to be careful about.
That is, “We are visiting for the grub, so let’s not squeeze the resources of our wallets and stomachs by ordering off the menu that is not grubby.
For example, “Caesar Salad for 700 yen” is on the menu. While this is a great menu item for those who want Caesar salad, it is probably not a native Mongolian dish. If you really want a salad, I won’t stop you, but it would surely be more enjoyable to order something else.
Look, look, the menu is starting to look very Mongolian around here.
Some menu names are localized into Japanese, like “Mongolian Udon”, but they are untranslatable, like “Hoytsai” and “Horhog”! Some of the menu names are localized into Japanese, such as “Mongolian Udon”, but others, such as “Hoytsai” and “Horhog”, are untranslatable! Some of them are just the local language (katakana spelled with Japanese pronunciation)!
By the way, what’s hoitsai? That sounds like a stew.
The people in ethnic costumes, who were excited in groups, were all eating “Xopxor,” a platter of lamb on the bone and root vegetables.
In the menu photo, you can see what looks like black charcoal next to the assorted dishes. It looks like black charcoal next to the assortment of dishes. What is this? It does not look like food.
Later, I found out that hor hog is a dish in which lamb, potatoes, carrots, onions, and heated stones are alternately placed in a pot and heated. I see…the stone. By the way, it is seasoned only with salt. This simplicity is the best part of Mongolian cuisine.Later, I found out that hor hog is a dish in which lamb, potatoes, carrots, onions, and heated stones are alternately placed in a pot and heated. I see…the stone. By the way, it is seasoned only with salt. This simplicity is the best part of Mongolian cuisine.
When visiting a foreign restaurant, it is also a hidden pleasure to look at the alcoholic beverage section of the menu.
This is because it shows what drinks are important in that store and country.
Let’s see, this restaurant is…oh, is that wine? Wine is at the top of the drink menu? This surprised me.Let’s see, this restaurant is…oh, is that wine? Wine is at the top of the drink menu? This surprised me.
Wine, sours, sake, shochu, soft drinks…and on and on. Oops, no beer?Wine, sours, sake, shochu, soft drinks…and on and on. Oops, no beer?
Beer was on the next page. This is the first time I have seen a menu structure where beer is served after soft drinks.
I feel that this is related not only to the difference in the importance of alcohol depending on the restaurant and national character, but also to the fact that how things are organized and the logical way of thinking differ depending on the education of the country.
Beer is followed by Mongolian vodka and then whiskey. Every single one of them is interesting.
Because what’s written in the whisky section: Hennessy, a cognac, and Taketsuru, a Japanese whisky? What a combination.
And the sake was Koshino-Kanbai and Tedorigawa. I like it, it’s interesting.
More interestingly, on the right side of this page, it said “The more you drink, the cleaner you will be. Chachalugan Health Sour”. Chachargan? Never heard of it.
The drink is said to be made from the fruit of chachal, a plant that survives a 90-degree annual temperature difference. Chachargan contains high levels of aspartic acid, which is said to help eliminate ammonia from the body and make it healthier. If that’s true, it’s not good. If the body can’t get rid of ammonia without relying on chachalugan, I think it’s at the level where we should go to a hospital immediately.
Regardless, it sounds good. Chachargan.
They have sours, but they also have juice, so I, who don’t drink, will ask for it, too, chachalugan.
You just want to say “chachalugan,” don’t you?
So I asked for it.
From left to right: oolong tea, chachargan drink, and chachargan sour.
Chachargan juice is colored like mango juice. When this is made into a sour, the color is like turmeric high.
I don’t remember what it tasted like. I don’t think it tasted that peculiar.
What is the right thing to order when visiting such a restaurant?
Of course, my first priority is to “eat what I want to eat,” but since I’m here, I want to order from a menu that I don’t understand. Nowadays, you can’t just say, “Phew! I can’t eat it, it’s so bad! I can’t eat it because it’s so bad!
In particular, you should definitely ask for a menu item with a name that is “a little exciting to pronounce when ordering from the waiter.
The menu only says “Bantang,” so I’m not sure what it is. It seems to be a soup.
When the bundt arrived, I found it to be a sudon with lamb. It was seasoned only with salt or a little something else, if anything. The seasoning is simple, but the lamb, which is an ingredient with its own unique flavor, makes the dish delicious enough.
I think lamb is great.
Beef, pork, and chicken are great, but I think lamb is just as great. I wish it was cheaper and easier to buy in Japan. But when I try to buy it, it is too expensive.
Bozu. 900 yen.
It’s a small basket of lamb. Even I knew that.
Because at the “Foreign Language Festival,” a university festival at the Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, students majoring in Mongolian had a food and drink stand, and they sold bozu.
When you think about it, the Foreign Language Festival is really a wonderful event. It is a window to cultures from all over the world.
There is a Chinese dish called “baked xiaolongbao,” which is different from “xiaolongbao,” and Bozu also had “baked bozu” on the menu. It is also delicious.
When I put the baozu in my mouth, the smell of lamb meat filled my mouth. I was satisfied and felt that I had eaten! It is a very satisfying dish that makes you feel like you have eaten.
There is a theory that lamb is good for weight loss, and the great effect of the meat can be effective for weight loss in that it is easy to be satisfied with even a small amount of lamb.
Braised and grilled lamb. 4,500 yen.
The lamb is braised and then grilled, which takes a lot of time and effort.
On the plate is a large piece of lamb with a bone. I don’t know if it was the udder or the thigh bone, but it was quite large.
The accompanying vegetables were potatoes, carrots and onions. I heard that these three vegetables are very important in Mongolia.
Ikh Mongol ho shawl. 300 yen per piece.
Ho shawl, which relates to the name of the restaurant. Hoshawl is a sharbin-like food with minced mutton inside.
It is seasoned, so you can eat it as it is.
All the dishes are salty. It is a wonder that I never get tired of it.
If we ate Mongolian food every day, Japanese people would probably get tired of it in a few days. But if you visit a Mongolian restaurant like this once in a while, you will be fine. All the dishes are fresh, impressive, and delicious.
All participants of the day. Okaden, Yoko-san, Ishi, and my son Takeh.
My son Takeh loves meat, but he has a habit of chewing and spitting out thick meat like the one we bought at Costco.
I wondered if he would eat this lamb, but was surprised when he grabbed the bone and began to eat the little bit of meat that was left in the Genco part, chewing hard.
Moreover, he was not “pretending” to eat it like an adult, but was gnawing on it all the time. He seemed to like it very much.
Lamb that satisfies even a two year old. I am amazed.
My son Takeh has a food allergy, so we have to be careful when eating out, but Mongolian food is basically salty, so there is relatively little to worry about. However, Mongolian food is basically salty, so there is relatively little to worry about.
I said to myself, “Let’s order some carbohydrates for a snack”.
But then I thought, I already had carbs from things like hors d’oeuvres and beef, didn’t I? What was I going to do? The idea of having noodle or rice dishes as “shimeme” is like Chinese food, but this is a Mongolian restaurant.
In the end, I ordered “Tsui Udon (Mongolian fried udon noodles),” which cost 950 yen.
It is a short udon noodle with shredded meat and vegetables. The texture is unique. However, the menu only lists the name of the dish, so I had no idea what it was. This is what makes it so interesting.
What in the world is this?
and everyone is talking about it while they are eating. That’s the best part.
To be honest, when you get to my age, you are not so happy even if you eat good food. Rather, I have come to believe that the experience of sharing a meal with others is a pleasure, and that talking about the food is the most enjoyable part of the meal.
That is what this meal was all about.
Then, when I got home and was sorting through my photos, I wondered, “By the way, what was that thing I ate today? I looked it up on the Internet and thought, “Oh, I see! And that’s the end of the meal.
I found out that tsui wan is a dish of steamed vegetables and noodles. It is said that these noodles can be eaten without boiling in a large pot of water, which is the wisdom of nomadic tribes with limited water supplies. Heeheehee. These noodles are not boiled? Is such a noodle possible? I am surprised.
What is even more surprising is that when there is really no water, they use milk from cattle to knead wheat to make noodles. I did not know if the noodles we ate this time were made that way or kneaded with water, but using milk instead of water was an eye-opening process.
The last one. I decided to order dessert, so I ordered the Bansi Tai Tsai (Mongolian-style milk tea with bansi) for 850 yen.
There was no dessert section on the menu of this restaurant, so I ordered the dish that was written in the middle of the menu. A milk tea dish would certainly be sweet.
So, after dividing the dish into small plates, we all ate it together.
Then everyone said in unison, “What? What? because it was not sweet at all.
It was because it was not sweet at all.
Bansi are Mongolian mutton dumplings. Until I took a sip of the tea, I was expecting it to be rich and sweet, like chai tea. So when I was confronted with the reality that it was not sweet, my head was confused. I was surprised.
No wonder it was listed in the middle of the menu. This is not a dessert. It is a soup with ingredients.
I enjoyed the meal to the end. Mongolia is a foreign country both near and far. Many of the names of the dishes and the dishes themselves were unfamiliar to me, so I enjoyed eating them. It was a very pleasant dinner with many discoveries and surprises.