Food Review: Mongolian Grill

For Educational Purposes Only:

Mongolian Grill (Barbecue) has a slightly misleading name since it is a stir-fried dish that was first developed in Taiwan during the early 1950s—not in Mongolia surprisingly. However, stir-frying meats on a large, open surface is supposed to evoke Mongolian foods and Mongolian traditions. The preparation can also be traced back to the Japanese-style teppanyaki, which was a very popular food choice for the Taiwanese back then. Interestingly enough, some American Mongolian Grill restaurants claim that soldiers of the Mongol Empire actually gathered large quantities of meat, prepared them with their swords and cooked them on their upturned shields over a large fire.

How it works here at Wesleyan:

1. Well, first you gotta be prepared to wait in line no matter when you arrive at Usdan because it can get quite popular.
(FYI: the actual “Mongolian Grill” is only served during lunch time.)

2. Get a bowl and make your own selection of veggies from the available options. Typically, there are about 8 different vegetables that you can choose from, but they tend to vary a little every day. Some regular visitors include onions, tomatoes, spinach, broccoli, bell peppers, kale, tofu, bok choy, carrots, eggplants, corn, mushrooms, edamame, okra, red cabbage, bamboo shoots, taro, seitan, zucchini and more.

3. Feel free to add some crushed garlic or ginger for that extra taste.

4. Whenever you hear “Howdy”, you know it’s time for some Gainz. You have 2 protein options to choose from. They are either gonna be chicken, pork, beef, or shrimp depending on the day.


5. Your bowl of ingredients is handed to the chef who then transfers them to the grill.

6. The round shape of the grill allows two chefs to cook food simultaneously, so the food is typically cooked in one revolution of the grill. Oil or water may be added to ease cooking.

7. Your food is finally ready, and you get to choose from either white rice, brown rice, or sometimes soba noodles to go with your stir fry.

8. The very last step is to add some sauces (never too much) of your own preference to create your favorite flavor. (Szechuan Sauce for example)

Here is the Actual Food Review:

Pros:

• You get to have a variety of healthy vegetables that you don’t really have access to at any other food station in Usdan on a regular basis.

• If you are the type of person who prefers the vegetables cooked rather than raw, then definitely give it a try.

• Are you that kind of person who couldn’t stand cold food? Mongolian Grill’s got your back.

• They just added shrimp as a new protein option this semester for all the shrimp/seafood lovers out there. I personally appreciate it a lot because it’s just not that easy to find nice seafood regularly in an American setting.

• The wide selection of sauces from different countries and cultures will satisfy your palate regardless of whether you like it sweet, sour, spicy, or salty.

• The choice of soba noodles is pretty damn nice when you eventually get tired of eating grains of rice and want something rather refreshing.


Cons:

• I’ll have to admit that the cooked meat tastes pretty flavorless even with the added sauce. That being said, I believe that the meat would have a much more palatable taste if it were marinated beforehand. Simply adding some salt (and pepper) to the uncooked meat prior to stir-frying would be another alternative.

• Instead of adding the sauce after everything is cooked, it might be a better idea to try adding the diner’s choice of sauce while the ingredients are being transferred to the grill.

• The timing of stir-frying vegetables is critical because they tend to get extremely dry and even burnt after a short while. The chefs need to make sure that the veges are not overcooked in order to preserve their nutritional value.

• The rice served at Mongolian Grill can be a bit too dry or hard sometimes. They should consider slightly increasing the amount of water used to cook the rice.

Tip: you can actually get both protein options if you wish.

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