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The History of Hibachi Cooking


If you’ve dined at a hibachi restaurant before, have you been able to truly appreciate everything that went into making your meal? Surely, you can appreciate the great taste and unique flavors of your meat, vegetables, and rice. You can easily appreciate the skills and talent that went into cooking your lunch or dinner before your eyes. Have you ever wondered where it all began? Where did the idea for hibachi cooking come from? Some of the history behind hibachi cooking may surprise you. Continue reading to learn more about this beloved combination of dining and entertainment!

What is hibachi-style cooking?

Hibachi is a grilling technique that originated in Japan and has evolved over the years. Typically, meats, vegetables, and rice are cooked on a large, flat-top grill made of sheet metal or cast iron. In some cases, the grill is smaller and portable, as opposed to being a permanent fixture within a table or countertop. Hibachi cooking enhances the flavors of the foods, rather than covering them up. Because of this, seasonings are typically limited to soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sometimes garlic.

Hibachi is a thing of many names…

Hibachi-style cooking, as we know it, has been called many things. The cooking style that we are all familiar with is traditionally called teppanyaki, which translates roughly to “grilling on an iron plate.” A traditional hibachi grill features an open grate for cooking food, while a teppanyaki grill is a flat, solid griddle. Over the years, we have come to accept hibachi-style cooking as a term interchangeable with teppanyaki.

The origin of hibachi is complex and debatable.

The exact history of hibachi cooking is unclear and debatable. Some claim that hibachi cooking began in Japan over 200 years ago, while others claim that it has only been around since the mid-20th century. Hibachi cooking started on small, portable grills, but has evolved over the years into a more complex and exciting form of cooking.

The first modern hibachi restaurant, Misono, was introduced in Japan in 1945. Chefs paired entertainment with food, often juggling condiments or preparing flaming volcanos. Flashier and different from traditional Japanese dining, the restaurant was more popular among foreign visitors than Japanese residents. About 20 years later, hibachi was introduced to the United States and has only increased in popularity since. While little is on record before 1945 and the origins are certainly debatable, one thing is for sure: hibachi is loved throughout the world.

Hibachi is equal parts entertainment and skilled cooking.

Hibachi chefs spend months undergoing specialized training to learn knife tricks, cooking techniques, and ways to entertain their guests. Part of what makes hibachi such an appealing meal choice is the theatrical flair. The combination of knife skills and unique tricks, with the mouthwatering flavors is enough to make your dining experience unforgettable.

Interested in dinner and a show? Come join us at Shinto Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi Lounge for a delicious and filling hibachi meal! Click below to view our hibachi menu and to learn more about our restaurant.


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