We went to a place that calls itself "Mongolian BBQ". At first, it looked like your regular, uninspired Chinese buffet, but we quickly realized there was more to it than that. For one thing, there were no plates; only bowls. For another, the (very thinly sliced) meat was frozen solid, and kind of made a clacking sound when you dropped them into your bowl. I grabbed a couple of tongfuls of pork, beef, and chicken, and then moved onto my veg. Spinach, mung bean sprouts, green onions, white onions.
And then I got to the sauces, and I was flummoxed.
There was a little chart over the sauces, which said "Chef's Suggestion":
3 x Teriyaki
2 x Hot spicy
2 x Vinegar
3 x Sesame Oil
2 x Garlic Sauce
2 x Ginger Sauce
2 x Sugar Syrup
I couldn't figure out if this was a list of suggestions, or if I was really supposed to ladle all of that into my bowl. Sensing my confusion, the allegedly Mongolian proprietess came flying to my side, and confirmed that yes, it was all one recipe, I was indeed supposed to put all of that onto my veggies and frozen meats. Then I was to hand the entire bowl over to a couple of young allegedly Mongolian guys, who were grinning at me. They were clearly enjoying how hilariously confused I looked, but in a good-natured way, like, "Oh, you poor stupid man. Don't worry, everything will be fine. Here, we've padded all of the sharp corners, so you won't hurt yourself."
With a noted lack of credulity, I hand over my frozen meats, fresh veg, and like half a gallon total of different sauces to my new friends. They upended the entire mess onto a REALLY hot allegedly Mongolian grill, which was apparently just a big flattened out wok.
After a few minutes, they put the now very hot everything back into my bowl, and handed it over to me, with almost a dismissive twinkle in their allegedly Mongolian eyes, as if to say, "Yes, now, go on, stupid man. We've taken care of everything for you. You're very welcome. Please try not to soil yourself with pleasure."
I took the steaming bowl back to the table, and ate what was hands down one of the best things I have ever eaten in my life.
Those allegedly Mongolian boys are using magic of some kind to make a bunch of random stuff taste like it was entirely crafted from a perfectly formed block of pure deliciousness. I honestly believe they are actually wizards. They use their dark magics to feed stupid people.
Tomorrow, my peeps: