High-tech yakiniku

My mother-in-law watching us cook yakiniku. The electronic menu is in the background.To celebrate Mami’s pregnancy, we went out for yakiniku with her mum, sister and her husband. Yakiniku restaurants are big business in Japan, and are often so crowded you have to wait ages to get a seat, as we did on Sunday. Once seated though, we got to experience the next step in restaurant technology by ordering from a computerized menu.

The menu looks like an oversized gameboy with a large, touch sensitive screen, and features color pictures of everything from the regular menu in glorious technicolor. You simply press the pictures of the food you want, adjust the quantites, and tap the order button, much like a website shopping cart without the need for shipping or credit card details. Within minutes, the staff bring you your order. Kids can even play games on it!

I couldn’t help but find the combination of modern technology and yakiniku amusing. Yakiniku, or Korean barbecue, is one of those meals that you have to cook yourself, which I’ve always thought defeats the purpose of going out to eat. You get the latest, revolutionary menus, but you still have to make your own dinner. I’m not complaining though, as it’s both enjoyable and delicious.

Aside from the menu, the restaurant we were at had a promotion whereby if you bought the magazine they were pushing, you got a free beer. Well, considering the magazine cost less than a dollar, we left with a dozen copies!

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