What is Teppanyaki
Japanese teppanyaki steakhouses are a popular way to enjoy authentic Japanese cuisine cooked fresh in front of the diners. The word “teppanyaki” describes the way the food is cooked. Its name combines the words teppan (鉄板), which means “iron plate,” and yaki (焼き), which means “grilled.”
At a teppanyaki restaurant, the guests are seated around a large, flat grill surface and watch as the chef cooks the food and sometimes performs culinary tricks to add to the entertainment value of the dining experience.
History of Teppanyaki
Although traditional Japanese dishes have been grilled on a flat griddle for many years, the first modern teppanyaki-style restaurants were introduced in 1945. These steakhouses combined Western and Asian cuisines and were more popular among tourists than local Japanese diners.
Thanks to its popularity among foreigners in Japan, the teppanyaki steakhouse style of restaurant concept spread quickly to other regions.
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.