Okay, we’ve all heard of it… some of us are ankles over the back of our heads in love with it (not me of course… i don’t do that ;), but unfortunately, not all of us have mastered the art that is the “Perfect Mongolian BBQ”!
To properly background this story, I’ll explain to the three viewers of this article who haven’t yet visited this (adam-declared) gay-mecca, that this restaurant is efficiently located at 1161 Davie Street. While resos are not taken, even though they’re often busy during peak hours, it’s rarely bad enough to make you wait very long to sit down. The key to this hotspot, however, is HOW you go about making your DYI meal at this place… and therein lies the meat of this article.
Step One: There is no shame in take out! While I understand the appeal of the cup of spicy soup and oddly the cheapest glass of wine i’ve seen on a davie street menu in a while (though, i have NEVER known anyone to dare try it… personally, i imagine a chenin-chardonnay blend as their house ;), the real appeal to “Mongolie” is in the dine and dash take out they offer. No, you still have to pay, but thankfully, not with your precious time! The experienced (and carb-conscious) guest need only say the words: “One, to go, no rice, chopsticks please,” and you’re set!
Step Two: EAT MEAT! A past “boyfriend for a month” of mine who shall remain nameless but with whom many of my closest buds have intimate carnal knowledge of (wait.. what was this article about again…? 🙂 Anyway, this past date-lette of mine refused to foray into the adventure that is freeze-dried meats due to a “cleanliness” issue, but take my word for it: the taste is amazing and i’ve never been sick off it a day in my life- so live boldly my fellow homos!
Step Three: USE YOUR HANDS. Yes, you might get a look from less-experienced BBQ-buyers, but pushing down that frozen meat and letting your hands melt it into a thin layer of compressed chickeny-lamb goodness is worth the leers! Anyway, I’d argue that’s what the napkins at the end of the food line are there for.
Step Four: Skip the noodles for now! I know what you’re thinking: “Adam, they come right after that meat!” TRICKERY! It’s just their way of getting you to fill up your bowl too quickly- get the veggies first THEN come back for the noodles (a special shout-out to the wise lesbian who taught me this little-know gem! Who’d have thunk I’d get lessons from a les while packing some meat!). The problem is that the noodles are oil-drenched and are the hardest to control, so, if at the top of the food pile, you can control them more readily!
Step Five: Veggies/Fruit/Soy. This is where you really make the meal your own. With over a dozen options I’ll let you pick and choose what you add to your BBQ. Though, I do recommend you risk the tomatoes- they cook well on that big ol’ round grill! Also, tofu has no taste so won’t ruin the meal and it really does add to the nutrition value of your purchase. Finally, don’t forget: treat this like a muscled, drunk man at the O… be HANDSY! Push those veggies et al. down and continue to maximize your bowl’s volume.
Step Six: Retreat to the noodles. This is the trickiest part of the process: sometimes you have angry/hungry grumblers in the line behind you who are under the impression that leaving the line for four second forfeits your spot. It doesn’t! I suggest smiling and joking about needing to “jump back for the noodles for just one second“. If the hoi poloi put up a fight or offer an inappropriate eye-roll, raise those well-plucked eye brows and glance towards the fact that they aren’t done choosing their own vegetables and can hold their damn horses! Final tip about the noodles: go for the yellow ones. The whites are the less-prepped option and while I’m not sure what the difference is (egg vs. rice based maybe? Help me out here!), all I ever remember being told about food is: “White ain’t right!”
Step Seven: Sauce station confusion. Again, there’s a myriad of options here and thankfully the good people at Mongolie offer a How-To guide on combining the variety of liquid options to make the best tasting concoction. My personal favorite (to which both my friends and the floor of my car can attest to on saucier to-go days) is Spicy and Sweet. It takes about 7 of the different sauces to make (the wine, lemon, jam and chili sauces being some of the more essential ingredients). I do suggest more is better here though- double the suggested “scoop amount”. You will need to ask for a second bag to keep it from spilling. Warning: do NOT get too close to this station when wearing anything white- these sauces splash!
Step Eight: PINEAPPLE EXPRESS! Unfortunately only offered at night, the sweet twist of pineapple is the perfect addition to your cooked meal. Do make sure you wait till the BBQ is hot to add it though- I find the cool pineapple mixes perfectly with the steaming hot food.
Step Nine: Tip your cook! The meal costs something around 7.83$ so you have a weird amount of change from your 10/20 dollar bill and it’s only fair the smiling chef gets a cut! I personally don’t leave the tip at the till, you drop it in the chef’s over-sized jar and nod politely to the gracious chef’s “thank you”!
And you’re golden! Get your food and go! I typically find the biggest bowl I own and reheat the food when I get home as I like to burn the roof of my mouth with this ambrosia. But, don’t just take my word for it: try it out yourself!