Okinawa Eats: Genghis Khan
Service: Self-service buffet where you select ingredients that are cooked fresh to order. The line at the griddles can get quite long at the prime dinner hours, especially on weekends and around military paydays.
Food Quality: Above-average.
Features: Spacious and eclectic local eatery with easily reconfigurable, family style seating
Cuisine: Mongolian BBQ consisting of frozen meats but fresh vegetables.
Price/Value: Above Average.
Although you may not have the fathered as many sons as Genghis Khan and your Y chromosome may not live on in around 0.5% of the male global population, you can still certainly dine as he did almost as often.
Genghis Khan is located conveniently a few blocks from our condo, and although we could walk there, we choose to drive because the journey back home would be just too hard on a bloated belly after enjoying the deadly sin of gluttony for at least the previous sixty minutes. The Mom and Pop joint, a not-so-small hole-in-the-wall that’s been around for almost forty years now, is just minutes from Kadena AFB Gate 1. And the food is just plain yummy: freshly cooked, served steaming hot, which seems to expand to fill and form-fit your belly, this style of Mongolian BBQ is true comfort food, and a great way to end a long day of adventure on Okinawa.
Walking in it seems like you just might be walking into an old antique shop or possibly your overly patriotic grandmother’s house; if you like American flag hand-crocheted quilts, this place is for you! Hungry patrons are greeted at the door and directed to a table (usually of your choice), where you decide if you would like rice or bread to go with your soon-to-be consumed feast. Then, you simply get up, grab a bowl – imprinted with Japanese and American flags – and fill it with all the meat (chicken, beef, pork and lamb) and up to ten kinds of veggies to your Mongol heart’s content. Soba noodles are available, along with a plethora of toppings and seasonings, including a Genghis Khan original sauce, soy, olive oil, teriyaki and even sake! For first-timers, there’s a guide posted in English about recommended spices, which is a great point of departure to start this culinary adventure. You’ll soon be experimenting and will certainly come up with your own perfect concoction. A cook then chops the raw ingredients and grills them under your watchful eye. On slow nights, the owner may even assist you with what he considers best sauce combo.
This buffet-style restaurant is perfect for the hungry Mongol in your life that you can’t seem to keep full. They are, however, only open for dinner. And an insider’s hint: be careful on payday weekends as the place is often hoppin’ full of Americans!
A large establishment for Okinawa, Genghis Khan can seat up to 80. In my past times living on Okinawa, because of this high-capacity, we’ve held command Hail & Farewells here to great effect. The purse-friendly ~1,800 yen buffet style all-you-can-eat Mongolian barbecue includes free refills of a full array of soft drinks, and also comes with rice or bread.
And really, don’t worry about fathering all those kids. With a royally stuffed belly, you’ll only have eyes for not the bedroom, but just the bed.
Hours: Dinner only, Sunday 4:00-10:00pm, Monday – Saturday 5:30-10:30pm
Payment: Cash only, but both Dollars and Yen acceptable
Address: 304-4 Sunabe, Chatan-Cho
Google Maps Coordinates: 26.3314702592, 127.749729032; www.google.com/maps?q=26.3315201,127.7496643&z=15&hl=en&source=embed
Directions from Kadena Gate 1: Take a left onto Hwy 58 and then a quick right at the first light (Family Mart). Then take a right at the first street, where you will see a sign for a medical clinic in Japanese pictured with a blue person and a pink person with a heart in between. There is actually quite a bit of street parking just past the restaurant.