Saturday, December 18, 2010

For Relaxing Times, It's Jingisukan Time....

22nd May, 2008 - It's MEAT-EATING TIME.... ok, I wouldn't win any awards for subtlety or sensitivity (especially to the vegetarians out there)... but let's face it. It's hard to dress this wolf up in lamb's clothing... coz if you did, you'd just end up eating wolf as well.

This post is about one of my all time favourite eating experiences in Sapporo. Jingisukan. BBQ Sheep. I've talked a LOT about this (from way back on my first trip to Sapporo). And indeed... if you check out my other Adelaide Blog, Raising Adelaide, you'll find a how-to guide to cooking Jingisukan (T-chan-style).

The place I'll talk about is known as the Sapporo Beer Museum, or the Sapporo Beer Garden... and it's a Sapporo "Must-Do Experience"... but I have to say that it's not that easy to get to. The map below shows it's location relative to Sapporo Station.

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According to the Sapporo Beer Garden website itself, the best ways to get there are:

Subway:Toho Subway Line, get off at "Higashikuyakusho Mae" and walk 10 min.

Bus: Take the Chuo Bus Factory Line (Kan 88) and get off at Sapporo Beer Garden, about a 1 min. walk from there.

I suspect the best way to get there is by car, with a designated driver... but that's not very practical for most visitors to Sapporo.

Actually, it breaks my heart a little bit now when I come here as in the last 7 years, the lovely grounds that surrounded it have made way for a giant shopping centre. The original building remains intact (on the right of picture below), but much of the ambiance has gone. Still, the real story is on the inside.
Sapporo Beer Museum care of Google StreetView

Once you're through the doors however, it's full steam ahead. A typical Jingisukan meal costs about 3,500-3,700 yen per person... including an all-you-can-drink-in-100-mins drinks option. Jingisukan, at least in Sapporo is typically a mutton-based BBQ... where mutton is older sheep that have lived a long and happy life... they also offer seafood and pork based versions... but for me it's mutton or it's just not Jingisukan.

You'll first be brought to your table and given both an apron AND a plastic bag (the bag is for you to put any jackets in to avoid them smelling of... well...sheep). The Jingisukan is cook-your-own style eating, so you might need to ask for some help with the basics to get you started. It's pretty simple though. First things first is heat up the "hat" hotplate and then melt a wad of lard till it's nice an sizzly... then add the meat (here they came as mutton rounds).

Around the base of the hot plate go the vegetables, that sort of stew in all the juices... and when I say juices, I'm including the quite intoxicating vapours that envelop the BBQ and you. Or was that intoxication from the beer? Actually, just to show that there's more than one way to BBQ a sheep, the style of Jingisukan here is to use a dipping sauce for the flavour. The way we do it at home is to marinate the meat first. Also we use lamb rather than mutton.  

You know it's a small world when you come to Sapporo to eat Australian sheep on a BBQ. And for those kiwi's out there, you can even buy New Zealand meat as well... of course to the Japanese, this typically represents the cheaper (and of course inferior) meat. Enough said on that though.

And beer is something that you're never far from in the Sapporo Beer Garden. The hall is huge, and there's a beautiful atmosphere to it. I've not actually (strange as this may seem) been to the beer museum itself, but it's apparently quite good as well. I'm quite partial to the Yebisu dark beer, and also the Classic Sapporo Beer... and the best of both worlds is known as the "half and half"... no prizes for guessing what that means.

So with a final kampai!, I wish you a happy weekend, and if you're in or around Sapporo, please give Jingisukan a try. It's a great social event to come to have Jingisukan (even for lunch like we did on this day), but leave plenty of room for the BBQ, the beer, and lots of good hearty cheer. And for those of you that aren't in Sapporo, pop on over to my other site to see the magic behind the scenes

By the way... Sapporo Beer Garden is almost always busy, so if you can... make a booking before you go.

1 comment:

  1. I've just added this place to my to do list for my next trip to Japan. Looks awesome. Did you try both the Aussie and Kiwi mutton? I could go down the path of saying that the Aussie mutton would be tastier because the Kiwis don't use their sheep for eating but my bro-in-law is a Māori and would probably send his cuzn's around if he read this comment. ^^