The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 6, 2013

Wally Kennedy: At HuHot, you tell ’em what, how hot

JOPLIN, Mo. — Real Mongolian food, I have been told, is rather bland. This is from people who have been to Mongolia.

That is NOT the kind of food that will be served at the HuHot Mongolian Grill when it opens on July 18. It will be full of flavors, and you will decide just how much flavor you want your food to have.

Last Wednesday, I got a quick tour of the new restaurant from Mona Wagner, one of the owners. As she carried her well-behaved grandson around with her — workers here are referring to him as “future boss’’ — she explained how the grill will work.

You’ll pick up a bowl and choose a meat. They will have beef, chicken, pork, mild sausage and crab available at all times. Sometimes calamari, shrimp and catfish will be available. From there, you can choose from three different noodles. After that, you add the vegetables and fruit that you want.

The next step is the sauce. HuHot has 12 signature sauces and 14 others from which to choose. Put about five ladles of sauce over the top of your bowl of meat, noodles and vegetables. You should add a little oil, half a ladle, to help with the cooking. From there, you hand your bowl to a cook who makes it steaming hot on a 72-inch grill. You circle around the grill and watch as your food is turned and cooked. The cooks will entertain you as they work.

Grilled food in the Mongolian style can be prepared in multiple ways. Some places cook the meat, then add the vegetables and sauce. At HuHot they cook it all together so that the flavors of the meat, vegetables and sauce can mingle.

This will be an all-you-can-eat restaurant. If you don’t like what you have created, you can set it aside and start over. They have recommended combinations of meat, vegetables and sauces if you would rather not experiment.

Soup ans salad are available with your meal at dinner. Wine and beer will be served. Children’s meals are 99 cents each.

The restaurant will employ more than 70 people. Openings are still available. You can drop by the restaurant, which is in the new Bel-Aire Shopping Center at the northwest corner of 20th Street and Range Line Road, and fill out an application.

This restaurant has interesting decor with some bold color combinations. The murals inside were painted by a guy who has painted murals for Bass Pro in Springfield. They depict in a modernized way the old days of Mongolian life when Genghis Khan was forging his empire and when his soldiers used their shields to cook their food over open fires.

This reminds me of one of my favorite Genghis Khan quotes: “Conquering the world on horseback is easy; it is dismounting and governing that is hard.’’

Some things never change.

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