Mongolian Happy Dragon barbecue is a fast food rival – Medford News, Weather, Sports, Breaking News

A stir-fry cooked in peanut and curry sauces with coconut milk was prepared for an all-you-can-eat meal at the Happy Dragon Mongolian BBQ in Medford. Photo by Sarah Citron.

“Strawberry Lemonade Bliss” is the signature drink at Mongolian Happy Dragon BBQ in Medford. Photo by Sarah Lemon.

Tofu stir-fried noodles and vegetables are a DIY dish at the Happy Dragon Mongolian barbecue in the Medford Center. Photo by Sarah Citron.

Food is prepared as patrons watch in the Happy Dragon Mongolian BBQ Dining Room at Medford Center. Photo by Sarah Citron.

The new owners inject energy into the decades-old “Mongolian barbecue” format of southern Oregon.

Happy Dragon is the new identity of the Mongolian BBQ at Medford Center, which has been operating under this name for a year. My distrust of buffets was only affirmed during the coronavirus pandemic, but the restaurant’s Perfect Sanitation score on its last inspection by the Jackson County Health Department convinced me it deserved a try. .

The items collected in Happy Dragon’s self-serve spread are meant to be baked, which should neutralize pathogens of all kinds. While I trust the approval of health inspectors, I still sanitized my hands from the free bottle of Happy Dragon as soon as I broiler my stir-fry components.

There are a few considerations for Happy Dragon customers. The first is to order a single plate, or whatever else you can eat – at first glance an odd choice, given the identical price ($ 13.95). But leftover meals at will cannot be taken home, and it is forbidden to divide the plates at will.

Because I wanted as much variety as Happy Dragon could offer, I opted for unlimited trips, although I had planned for a maximum of three. Steamed rice is included in the price at will. My partner was up for the same, and we both added a glass ($ 2.95) of “Strawberry Lemonade Happiness,” described as a lightly carbonated lemonade with strawberry syrup.

Sauce is a major component of every meal. I told my partner – to explain the restaurant – that diners should go against their instincts and add a lot more sauce than what seems reasonable. Indeed, signs on the buffet recommend infusing a bowl full of sauce into the finished dish.

These include the obvious soy, peanut, and teriyaki sauces, as well as sesame oil. But there is also the “dragon fire” and “Pistol Pete’s chili infusion”. I planned my dishes with a simple stir-fry sauce for the noodles and a coconut-curry sauce with rice.

But first, the diners choose the products and proteins. While the former are sliced ​​and cut into large pieces, the latter are finely grated to ensure thorough cooking. Most recognizable was the tofu, offered in large cubes, contrasted with the shavings of chicken, pork and beef that were almost indistinguishable without their labels.

Classic stir-fried noodles drew attention to a slightly thicker udon-like type. I portioned fairly pedestrian broccoli florets, sliced ​​carrots, bamboo shoots and miniature corn in my bowl, along with tofu. I searched in vain for water chestnuts and mushrooms and jumped on big slices of onions, celery and green onions, filling my bowl with noodles.

For the sauce, I mixed soybeans, lemon water, oyster-garlic, sweet vinegar, sesame oil and two good ladles of “dragon fire”.

Preparing stir-fry at home over the years has informed my choices. For those who are less confident, Happy Dragon suggests several combinations of sauces: traditional, Thai, Asian fusion, and sweet and tangy.

Diners get a close-up view of the cooking process, thanks to the massive round griddle that takes pride of place near the entrance to the restaurant. Replace the ingredient and sauce bowls and watch two long spatulas spread, stir and scrape the food on the hot surface. I noticed that neither the water nor the lids were used to steam the food, handed over to diners after several minutes on a clean plate.

My meal reminded me of the ubiquitous stir-fry at fairground and carnival food stalls – just what I was looking for. Although I enjoyed the crunchy and tender texture of all the vegetables, the noodles were not cooked enough for my liking. Spraying them with water on the hotplate would have loosened the strands and thinned my sauce a bit, which bordered on salty. Considering the squeezable water bottle within reach of the cook, I think the request would be justified.

I managed to polish almost the entire plate of noodles before assembling my next dish. This time I scooped up slices of red and green cabbage, spinach leaves, chopped zucchini, and pineapple chunks, adding just a few large rings of jalapeño. My sauce was a combination of soy, peanut and curry sauces, coconut milk and more “dragon fire”.

I had no idea that the curry sauce on its own would be very spicy for the average diner. No, it wasn’t the jalapeno. Adding “dragon fire” elevated the burn to a level I didn’t expect from a DIY project.

My only regret is that there was no more sauce to put on the rice and moisten the grains. Next time I will go back for another bowl of spicy peanut curry coconut elixir.

Despite his efforts to approximate a “sweet and sour” chicken with onion, pepper and pineapple, my partner lamented that his dish was not as sweet as he expected. most restaurant menus. This is because there is no tub of simple syrup – sugar – among the seasonings, I told him.

Sodium aside, Happy Dragon is a healthier take on Asian dishes that many establishments cook up, especially those that rely on the primary appeal of meat, relegating vegetables to secondary roles. A little more plant diversity and seasonality would go even further, in my opinion. But Happy Dragon fills its niche well for a price that rivals fast food.

Lunchtime reduces the usual cost per person by $ 2. And kids 10 and under can take a trip through the buffet for $ 7.95.

Located at 975 Medford Center, Happy Dragon is open from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, until 9 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. Order takeout at or call 541-282-5490.

Tempo information

Bikes and beers are a double draw Wednesday in downtown Medford.

Common Block Brewing Co. plans to host instructors certified with the American Cycling League for a free session on basic bike maintenance and skills. Perfect for beginners, the 5 to 7 p.m. outdoor event is in partnership with Rogue Valley Transportation District, in concert with the Oregon Get There Challenge.

Experts will perform free safety checks and participants will be able to socialize with other cyclists. Bring your bike, helmet, outerwear and gear – and your appetite.

Common Block is at 315 E. Fifth St. See

Find out more about RVTD events at and this year’s Get There Challenge at


Talent’s Simple Machine Winery & Tasting Room is about to welcome the public again next week.

The company of 717 S. Pacific Highway, which was destroyed in the Almeda fire, announced Wednesday its return to normal opening hours after a “surprise” reopening last week to drink for the reconstruction of the cellar . The tasting menu included 2020 Rose and 2020 “Leverage”.

The wildfire that burned from Ashland to Talent and Phoenix on September 8, 2020, also consumed four Simple Machine vintages. Its first new red wine, Zinfandel 2020, will be released on Wednesday to celebrate the return of the cellar.

The reopening comes with very limited menus and seating, according to Simple Machine’s social media posts. Wine service will be outside only. Masks are mandatory at all times indoors.

See Call 541-897-0366.


A Medford Latin fusion restaurant has closed – for now.

Xilakil operated for nearly three years at 1361 Center Drive, initially as a counter service establishment reminiscent of Chipotle. About two years ago, the restaurant focused on serving cocktails in a modern atmosphere, but acknowledged on social media the challenges it faced in staying in business.

Representatives of the restaurant hinted on his Instagram account of a “new project” in the works.


In September, the following restaurants received perfect marks of 100 in their semi-annual inspections by Jackson County Environmental Public Health:

Legendary Abby Pizza, Central Point; Legendary Pizza from Abby, Rogue River; The Angelo Pizza Parlor, Medford; Blue Toba, Ashland; Burger King # 5164 South Riverside Ave, Medford; ‘C’ St. Bistro, Jacksonville; Carl’s Jr. No. 8025, Eagle Point; The Chicken Slum, Eagle Point; Crackin ‘& Stackin’, Eagle Point.

The county’s searchable restaurant and food service inspection database can be found at


Do you have a Tempo info to share? Email information about the local restaurant, food and drink scene to: [email protected]

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Sarah Lemon has relished the Rogue Valley food scene for nearly two decades as one of the earliest contributors to Tempo’s food column. His palace has helped judge some of the region’s culinary competitions and festivals. Former editor-in-chief of A la Carte, the weekly culinary column of the Mail Tribune, she writes a bi-weekly column, The Whole Dish, as well as blogs and podcasts under the same name. Listen to and read more at Follow @ on Instagram, @thewholedish on Twitter, or visit

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