Eating beef was only legalized after the Meiji Restoration period. At this time, the Meiji Emperor thought of ways to promote beef consumption. To persuade people, he even ate it in public. “Steak” was translated as “yakiniku.”
After WWII, yakiniku became noticeably popular in Japan. It was said to be influenced by Korean dishes. Bulgogi, a Korean dish, is a grilled marinated beef which has a big impact on yakiniku. Another is “galbi” which literally means rib. This is another Korean cuisine wherein the marinated beef or pork is made from Korean soy sauce.
Ingredients will depend on you. You can choose either beef, pork, chicken, seafoods, or vegetables. You can also add onions, mushrooms, green pepper, corn, potato, lettuce leaves, yakiniku sauce, garlic, sesame oil and lemon (for dipping). Beef can come from loin, short ribs, tender meat around the diaphragm, beef tongue or meat around the shoulders. Pork can either be pork belly or fatty meat around the cheek and neck while seafoods can be squid, shrimps or shellfish. Vegetables can include carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, cabbage, eggplants, bean sprout and squash.
Every 29th of August, a Yakiniku Day is held by “All Japan Yakiniku Association,” also known as “yakiniku no hi,” in Japanese. This is a professional organization whose main goal is to promote the eating of yakiniku. In the contemporary society, yakiniku has gotten a lot of attention and is still growing in terms of popularity.