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Thread: Interactive "D-I-Y" Dining

  1. #1
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    Default Interactive "D-I-Y" Dining


    Yakiniku "D-I-Y at the table" grilling at Camellia

    I really dig those dining experiences where you cook your own food at the table and/or assemble it yourself, or at least, have the cook or server prepare it right before you.

    Japanese cuisine has a number interactive dining experiences. There's Shabu-Shabu, where each diner is served a plate of their own uncooked vegetables and meats, which you cook yourself in a boiling pot of water in the center of the table. Sometimes its just water, while some are flavored with Miso or Dashi. You then dip your cooked Shabu Shabu in dipping sauce, which typically is Ponzu or Misoyaki Sauce, or just plain shoyu.

    Yakiniku, where you cook your own meat and veggies on a shared grill in the center of the table.

    Then there's Teppanyaki and Sushi, where your dishes are prepared by a skilled chef who slices 'n dices, grills and rolls right before you.


    Tableside service on the shore of Waikiki beach at Michel's in the Colony Surf

    In the US, we have the Tableside Preparations performed by a skilled waiter, including the Caesar Salad, Steak Diane and Chateaubriand. Or how about Subway, when you tell the "Sandwich Artist" how to make your sub? lol

    I also really dig Mongolian Barbecue. Marine Corps Base Hawaii (Kaneohe) used to have an awesome Mongolian Barbecue restaurant. It's like Teppanyaki and Buffet all in one. Instead of being served a given set of veggies and meats, you go down a buffet line to pick and choose what you want, then you take it to cook who grills it all for you. Your cooked food is served with the starch of your choice. LOVE that!

    Shorebird Waikiki
    offers D-I-Y Grilling, where you choose your cut of steak or burgers and veggies and fire 'em up yourself on a flamin' hot grill. Never tried it, but it sounds like fun.

    Then there's the Cooked-to-Order Egg Station. And the Cut-to-Order Prime Rib. Oh yeah, thick please. Lots of fat, please. No ends for me. I want it "moo'ing" pink rare.

    Fondue, anyone? Anything dipped in hot melted cheese is A-OK with me!


    Bac Nam: Bo Luong La Lot – Grilled Beef wrapped in lá lốt Leaves. $13.50

    Bac Nam Vietnamese Restaurant (so awesome) offers Roll-ups on a Plate, where you're given all the ingredients for your spring roll, yet you roll it up yourself by first "cooking" (hydrating) the rice wrapper in a bowl of hot water that's given to you on the side. You then assemble the ingredients on the rice paper roll, roll it up like a burrito, dip in the Sweet Chili Sauce, and enjoy.

    I always wanted to try some Nude Sushi. Sounds "stimulating". lol

    Surely there's many other interactive dining experiences, from catching your own fish and lobster, to God knows what... and we may not want to know!

    What's your favorite interactive dining experience? Anything unusual you've tried?
    Last edited by Pomai; March 10th, 2013 at 10:33 AM. Reason: More typos than I can shake my own chopsticks at

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Interactive "D-I-Y" Dining

    Back in my bar drinking days, there was a 24-hour Chinese restaurant called Dynasty in a small hotel in Waikiki, near the Ilikai and Wailana restaurant. We used to go there after drinking, sometimes with a bunch of bar girls. One of my favorite things to order there was D-I-Y jook. You needed a large crowd for this to work. Each diner at the round table would be brought a bowl of plain jook (rice gruel). On the center lazy susan, they would have a variety of ingredients--chicken, pork, beef, various hot sauces, shoyu, mushrooms, shredded lettuce, cucumber and other vegetables, crushed peanuts, etc. You would just take whatever you wanted and mix it in your jook and voila! Absolutely perfect at two or three in the morning after a hard night’s drinking.

    Another thing I remember from our UH tailgate parties is D-I-Y sushi. We would have square sheets of nori and a large pot of sushi rice, plus a bunch of other ingredients--various raw and cooked fish, avocado, cucumber and other veggies, tamago (sliced Japanese omelet), wasabi, shoyu, Spam, etc. You would choose what you wanted and place it in a sheet of nori, roll it up California roll-style (in a cone) and enjoy!

  3. #3
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    Lightbulb Re: Interactive "D-I-Y" Dining

    Honoruru, oh man, imagine if someone opened a late night jook stand in Waikiki or near the Ala Moana area. Cha-ching!!!

    Just jook and that's it, served exactly how you described, with DIY toppings. Keep it simple. Name the place simply JOOK. Business hours would be "graveyard" 10pm to 6am. You'd definitely need to hire security to watch over those who've had to much. Still, JOOK would probably do gangbusters!


    The DIY "California" hand rolls are called Temaki Sushi (te=hand, maki=roll).

    Quote Originally Posted by Honoruru View Post
    Back in my bar drinking days, there was a 24-hour Chinese restaurant called Dynasty in a small hotel in Waikiki, near the Ilikai and Wailana restaurant. We used to go there after drinking, sometimes with a bunch of bar girls. One of my favorite things to order there was D-I-Y jook. You needed a large crowd for this to work. Each diner at the round table would be brought a bowl of plain jook (rice gruel). On the center lazy susan, they would have a variety of ingredients--chicken, pork, beef, various hot sauces, shoyu, mushrooms, shredded lettuce, cucumber and other vegetables, crushed peanuts, etc. You would just take whatever you wanted and mix it in your jook and voila! Absolutely perfect at two or three in the morning after a hard night’s drinking.

    Another thing I remember from our UH tailgate parties is D-I-Y sushi. We would have square sheets of nori and a large pot of sushi rice, plus a bunch of other ingredients--various raw and cooked fish, avocado, cucumber and other veggies, tamago (sliced Japanese omelet), wasabi, shoyu, Spam, etc. You would choose what you wanted and place it in a sheet of nori, roll it up California roll-style (in a cone) and enjoy!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Interactive "D-I-Y" Dining

    I'm drooling after reading this thread! But, as someone who is responsible for cooking all my meals at home, I'm not enthusiastic about going out to eat, paying restaurant prices and cooking my own meal. Even buffets are a 2nd choice for me. Remember the old Mongolian Barbeque in Chinatown? I think it eventually moved to Kaimuki. Loved that place. I just checked and there's a Mongolian Bar-B-Que in Palolo Valley. I wonder if it's the same one.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Interactive "D-I-Y" Dining

    It's not cooking, but those popular frozen yogurt places have that element of assembling something to suit your mood and preference. I'm sort of a minimalist, looking for something to enhance the yogurt of my choice and not blanket it. Typically, I go for a nice two-yogurt combo with a sprinkling of graham cracker crumbs, or Oreo crumbs, or sometimes granola and slivered almonds.

    What a great idea for a thread.
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Interactive "D-I-Y" Dining

    In the late 60s, I had a memorable Peking Duck at a restaurant in northern Indiana, which is sort of DIY, since you assemble your own portion, as you all probably know, by wrapping some duck, some skin, and a green onion, in a doily with Hoisin sauce. At least, that's what I recall. I was driving from Ohio to Chicago with some friends, including Jim McCawley, a gourmet of Chinese food, who wrote this book:



    And I think the restaurant was the Cam-Lan in Hammond, Indiana, later immortalized in Jean Shepherd's "A Christmas Story" as the place that served the "Chinese turkey" (Peking Duck):



    That not me -- it's Darren McGavin.
    Last edited by GregLee; March 10th, 2013 at 07:07 PM.
    Greg

  7. #7

    Default Re: Interactive "D-I-Y" Dining

    I like the taste of the Korean style meats and side orders at Buffet Camellia on McCully St.

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