What is Teppanyaki-Style Dining?
In order to better appeal to foreigners, the performance aspects of teppanyaki cooking gained greater focus. Today, the entertainment element is as important as the quality of the food or the size of the menu. Chefs must train specifically both to cook the dishes and to perform tricks. Popular tricks include the flaming “onion volcano,” utensil juggling, balancing an egg on a spatula and flipping shrimp tails into the chef’s pocket.
Each table is generally designed to seat a large group, and it’s common for small parties to share the tale with strangers. Each diner will order an entree from the menu and watch as it’s prepared, often while eating an appetizer like soup or salad. Common menu items prepared teppanyaki-style include beef, shrimp, chicken or tofu with a variety of grilled vegetables and fried rice or noodles.
In general, all of the rice or noodles for the table will be cooked first and served for the patrons to eat while the meat and vegetables are being prepared. Many teppanyaki restaurants also offer sushi that can be eaten as an appetizer while food is being prepared as well as dessert items like green tea ice cream or mochi.