Saturday, May 01, 2010


We got together with my host family the other day.

They reserved a spot (for a fee) at Shiawase no mura (literally village of happiness). This is a huge complex with sporting facilities, a hotel, hot spring, camp area and barbecue area in Northern Kobe. (There are more facilities on this property, I'm just touching on a few.)

I am always surprised at Japanese "barbecue" because usually none of the fathers do the barbecuing like in the States.

Nope, it is usually the mothers that do EVERYTHING.

Another thing I am amazed at is that barbecue doesn't mean steaks or sausages (nor potato salad), it is usually yakiniku (which means grilled meat) which you use yakiniku tare, a spicy/sweet sauce to dip your grilled meat into.

Sometimes veggies are also grilled.

Most barbecue areas provide the grill, charcoal & food to be grilled (at a fee). This particular place provides the chairs and space, you need to rent the grill and other items you use. You bring your own food to be grilled and they help you take care of the hot coals afterwards.

I guess it had been awhile since I've seen fires started from "scratch". I remember my dad and uncle using newspaper, a little lighter fluid and matches to start the fire burning. I also remember that it usually took a LONG time to get the fire going.

Nowadays, in Japan, you line up your charcoal, which are not briquettes but actually look like burnt tree stumps, take out your gas burner and light the started in 10 minutes or less!

One of the items you can rent is a large teppan (steel pan), perfect to make okonomiyaki or yakisoba (fried noodles)...we had both!

It was very windy, so we all had to hold onto our plates, but the weather was sunny and beautiful. Everything was delicious and it was nice to spend the day outside with my host family.

Hope you are having a great weekend!

Shiawase no mura
14-1 Shimotanigami Aza nakaichiriyama
Kita-ku, Kobe
Phone: 078.743.8000


scargosun said...

Cool! I love that bbq is something that just about every country has a way of doing, open fire being readily available and all. :)

gtrine said...

that looks like such fun, Kat! I am glad you are out and about enjoying great weather! We are going on an oyster bbq this weekend too. So our weekends are very similar! =) ENjoy!

tinyskillet said...

I looks good! Very interesting to see BBQ in Japan. I do the grilling in my household, my husband will start the coals. Whe use a charcoal chimey so we don't have to use any lighter fluid. I like to get the wood chunk charcoal like they use there, but it's a little pricey.

Unknown said...

Outdoor Okonomiyaki!! Yummm...

Deb in Hawaii said...

I like the sound of everything you ate at your bbq more than the normal American bbq fare! ;-)

K and S said...

It is interesting to see other country's culture Scargosun :)

Have fun at your BBQ Gtrine :)

I don't know what a charcoal chimney is Lyndsey but it sounds very handy!

Rick, yumm indeed :)

Thanks Debinhawaii, it was good :)

Take care everyone!

Dennis K. said...

How fun! Everything looks so good!

Fedge said...

huhuhuhuh I miss sunday morning with my family . . .

I'll be praying my Boss will allow me to file for a leave just a couple of days . .

Fedge shacks

Su-Lin said...

It's so Asian, isn't it - when the woman does all the cooking? :D

Yakiniku sounds a lot better thans steaks...

jalna said...

Very interesting . . . so different from our bbq's. I like that somebody takes care of your coals for you.

K and S said...

Thanks Dennis, fun indeed!

I hope you get those days off Fedge!

It drives me crazy Su-Lin!

Very helpful Jalna :)

Take care everyone!

Jenster said...

Sounds as if you had a fun and delicious get-together! We use a charcoal chimney, too, which is a tall, hollow, cylindrical metal contraption with a handle on the side. My husband puts crumpled newspaper near the bottom and charcoal briquettes on top of them, and then lights the newspaper. It helps the briquettes heat up much quicker. When they're hot enough, you grab the handle and pour the briquettes out onto your barbecuer.

My husband is a grill-snob and refuses to use a gas grill -- It has to be charcoal for him. We've had both before, and I must admit that the food cooked over charcoal always tastes better to me.

Growing up, my Chinese mom did all the grilling, too. She was very territorial about it and would shoo away anyone who wanted to help. I didn't realize it was considered a "guy thing" until I moved to the mainland.

Thanks for such an interesting post!

K and S said...

Thanks for telling me about the chimney Jenster! I agree that over charcoal does taste better.

Take care.