Although Mongolian beef is neither Mongolian nor Chinese, the ingredients and spices provide some insight into Chinese cooking. The story goes like this: After a hard day of riding across the Asian steppes, Genghis Khan and his men would place their shields over hot embers to cook their food, and so was born Mongolian barbecue. One has to forget the fact that most of the Mongol shields were wood or hide and not iron or steel. Nonetheless, it makes for a good story, marketing hype and helps to explain the unique grill that is a keynote of the Mongolian barbecue establishments.
In some establishments you order from the menu. In others they have buffet lines where you select the meat and vegetable ingredients into a bowl for your barbecue. You hand the bowl to the cook who grills the selected ingredients on the scorching hot grill while you watch. With practiced aplomb the cook will slide the cooked food deftly into your bowl.
Your meal is usually served with noodles or rice.