The art of stir-frying meats and vegetables on a large wok has been around for centuries, but has only been commercialized since the early 1950’s. Today, Mongolian BBQ serves as a way for people to get insane amounts of food for minimal cost. Personally, I use Mongolian BBQ as a means to feed myself delicious Asian-inspired meals for literally an entire week, and for only $11.50.
Now, keep in mind, this strategy is specific to my local Mongolian BBQ joint, YC’s Mongolian BBQ (shout out to my homeboy Juan on the stir fryer!), so not everything I do will apply to your own Mongolian BBQ (MBBQ) experience, but most of the time the rules apply anywhere you go. With that said, here’s my best Mongolian BBQ strategy!
1. Start with the protein
Since most MBBQ places use frozen or freeze dried meats, it’s best to start their as you can easily pack everything down. You’re definitely going to want to use as much meat as possible, as it will cook down. I usually fill up the entire bowl with packed-down meat. If you’re not huge on meat or if it just ain’t your thang, use as much as you want, packing it down to shape to the bowl to make room for your veggies. If available, use the sanitary paper provided so you don’t have to use your grubby hands as packing devices.
2. Veggie time
I love adding vegetables to my bowl, but some are better to use if you’re looking for week-long leftovers. First off, broccoli is by far and away the best veggie you can use if you’re going for a more long lasting meal. When it comes to veggies, it really doesn’t matter what you use or how much. Carrots are good because they’re flat and easily packed in, same with tomatoes, spinach. Conversely, things like baby carrots can get annoying because of their shape.
3. Noodle Architecture
Here is both the most important and the most difficult part of building your MBBQ bowl. Personally, I find that the wheat noodles are the easiest to stack, as well as compress. I use a method called the “Press Release”: using the tongs, grab a healthy chunk of noodles, place them on your bowl, and, using your sanitary paper, press down on the noodles until they’re as flat as possible, then release. The goal for this is to build a pyramid of noodles. Start as flat as possible while adding each new layer of noodle. Really go for it on this one, as the noodles will cook down a ton.
At my MBBQ place, they recently came out with separate bowls for sauce which is incredible. I try to fill two of these bowls full of a combination of sauces. Like everything else, the more the merrier. The worst thing that could happen is being left with dry leftovers for a week.
5. Soup & Rice
This is the pro tip of all pro tips. If you really want your MBBQ to last you a couple days, instead of eating any of it at the restaurant, fill up on soup and rice. Most MBBQ places offer complimentary soup, rice, and wonton chips. I take full advantage of these free sides and end up leaving the restaurant with two full to-go boxes. Success.