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What! I Have to Cook it Myself!! BBQ at your Table in WEST Yakiniku



While Yakiniku (literally grilled meat) may be a slightly unorthodox style of dining elsewhere, it is common place in Japan and extremely popular.  What makes Yakiniku unusual is that your choice of meat, seafood or vegetables will arrive at your table like the photograph below – yes, uncooked ! and you have to barbecue it yourself on the grill in the table in front of you.

The restaurant I am introducing here is one of the most well-known Yakiniku restaurant chains in Kyushu, “Yakiniku West” where I had a satisfying and very reasonably priced lunch.


The prices of the lunch sets vary according to the choice of meats and the weight. For example, the simple lunch set for 720 yen includes 100g of one variety of meat. The 880 yen set includes 140g of two varieties of meat and the 1,280 yen set includes 210g of three varieties of meat (prices do not include tax). You can choose from 9 varieties of meat, including various cuts of beef, chicken, pork, seafood and offal. Feeling quite peckish, I ordered the 1,280 yen lunch and chose two portions of the lean harami (beef skirt) and one portion of the karubi (beef ribs).  The set comes with white rice, a choice of miso or wakame seaweed soup, a small portion of kimchi (Korean pickles), and cabbage for grilling.

While waiting for the food to arrive, start preparing the dipping sauces. There are three types to chose from but its best to try them all. From left to right: Miso (salty yet sweet), Lemon (light and zesty) and Hondare (sweetish soya sauce).

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And, if you wish to add a little more flavour to the sauces, there are also small packs of grated garlic and Korean gochujang (red chili paste) at each table. If you’re having beef, I’d recommend  the hondare with a touch of garlic and gochujang to bring out the flavour of the meat . But I think I prefer the lemon sauce with chicken and vegetables!

rice setSecond helpings of rice, soup, kimchi and grilled vegetables are free if you are feeling particularly hungry! A little grilled meat, dipped in sauce on top of rice with a little kimchi on top is just delightful!


The meat is cut into bite-sized pieces which makes it easy to handle and eat. You are free to grill the meat at your own pace and to your own cooking preference. The photograph above is  a 210 g plate of harami (beef skirt -front) and karubi (beef ribs – behind).


One of the special features of Yakiniku restaurants is that you can try a variety of different cuts of meat that you normally don’t come across in the supermarket. Harami  is a lean, soft cut while karubi has a little more fat which makes it a little tastier. Karubi is one of the most popular yakiniku meats and if you can’t decide which to order, I’d recommend the karubi!  If you prefer slightly leaner meat, the loin (rosu) is also nice. While Yakiniku restaurants do focus on meat, there is also a variety of seafood available.

salad bar

Yakiniku West also has a buffet salad and dessert bar which you can add to your lunch set for an extra 390 yen. Not only has it a wonderful variety of vegetables, it also has a good variety of small desserts and bottomless ice cream! I highly recommend it.

How to “Yakiniku”!!

How to cook Yakiniku – For first-timers!

If you’ve never been to Yakiniku before, read on.

table with cooker

Tables at a Yakiniku restaurant have built-in grills in the middle of each table. If you don’t fancy waiting too long for your meat, I’d recommend no more than three or four people to a grill. When you have placed your order, the waiter will switch on the grill.



Each grill is meticulously cleaned and oiled before you sit down. The vents at the top are designed to remove most of the smoke and oil so that it doesn’t end up on your clothes and in your lungs or eyes!

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Dedicated tongs are provided for handling the raw meat. You can grill the meat to your preference but generally two to three minutes on one side and one or two minutes on the other is sufficient. You can adjust the strength of the flames using the controls on the panel at the side of the table. A cautionary note – If you like your meat well done, beware of those who like it rare or they may steal it all before you have the chance to try any. Trust me!.

mouth rinse

And if you’re concerned about that garlic paste, take a couple of minutes to visit the restroom where mouth rinse is available.

shoe box

Before entering the restaurant remove your shoes and place them in a shoe box.

shoe box keys

When you put your shoes into a locker, remove the wooden key to lock it and keep the key with you until you leave. To ensure that you don’t forget which locker you left your shoes in, they are numbered !


Lunch will cost in the vicinity of 1000 yen and dinner from 2000 to 3000 yen. This does depend on how much you eat and drink of course! “All-you-can-eat” and “all-you-can-drink” plans (including soft drinks and alcohol) are also available which are great value for money if you are particularly hungry or like a few drinks with your meal. As a personal favourite of mine, I’d recommend you visit Yakiniku West.


Yakiniku West  (焼肉WEST)
Address: 3417-17 Niiji, Yamato Cho, Saga City
Telephone: 0952-62-9905
Opening Hours: 11:30 – 23:00
Regular Holidays: None
Access 1: 5 minutes drive from Saga Yamato IC, Nagasaki Expressway
Access 2: 10 minutes drive from Saga Station
Distance to airport: 17 km from Saga Airport
Religious info:
Menu Language: Japanese
Credit cards:

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