Table-top Cookery

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Table-top Cookery takes many forms, sometimes that of table-side cookery. In the Far East, there are variations on the Mongolian firepot (see mongolia) such as the Chinese mutton shuan-yang-jou (k’ao-yang-jou is grilled, also at the table) and Japanese shabu-shabu (usually beef). While many such dishes are poached in hot stock or water (like mizutaki in Japan, or bo bay mon ‘beef cooked in seven ways’ in Vietnam), others are braised, for example sukiyaki or chirinabe (fish stew) in Japan or bulgogi in Korea. Some are grilled or griddled: ‘Mongolian beef’ as eaten in northern China has a grill at the centre of a counter or table for diners armed with two-foot-long chopsticks to cook meat over glowing embers, while in Japan there is teppan-yaki. The European parallel to this is the Scandinavian enthusiasm for ‘hot rocks’ on which meat may be griddled by enthusiastic diners. The Burmese akyaw, by contrast, is meat and vegetables deep fried in batter in a pot of hot oil. The forms are discussed by Gabay (1993) who points out that many are of recent, and commercial, origin. Hosking (1996, 2000) observes that, in Japan, they have to come after the adoption of the table (chabudai or zataku) itself (after 1868).