My reward for being a good girl and sitting quietly all afternoon at the Mezz Cues factory in Tomiyoka City, Gunma Prefecture was an awesome yakiniku dinner. Yakiniku broadly refers to meat and offal cooked on a gridiron over charcoal. We started off with some delicious beef tongue. Because I didn't grow up in Japan where everything seems to be ridiculously fresh, I'm used to beef tongue with more of a chewy, gummy texture. This was so fresh that I actually asked, "What am I eating?" and was surprised when I was told it was beef tongue. The thin slices of tongue were super tender—not gummy at all. Very delicious.
And then we were asked the question, did we like raw meat? Hellz yeah! So we were served this:
Wikipedia tells me that this dish is called yukhoe, and stems from Korean cuisine. Essentially, this is beef sashimi. There are slices of tender rump steak flavored with soy sauce, sugar, salt, sesame oil, scallion, ground garlic, sesame seed, black pepper and Asian pear juice, all topped off with a raw egg. Similar to a steak tartare and very yummy in my opinion.
And then, more meaty goodness. Not sure what cuts of meat these are since our host didn't really know, but I can tell you that they were awesome. I mean check out the marbling of fat on that meat ... a quick trip to the grill and we were in heaven.
Life, I've found, is not always a bed of roses. Sometimes it can really truly suck. But other times, if only for a few hours, it can be really, really good.