What Cooking Style to Learn: Teppanyaki or Hibachi?

grilled salmon with a fresh lemon slice

There is a slight confusion with hibachi and teppanyaki-style of cooking, because both teppanyaki and hibachi cooking involve grilling food over an open flame.

However, you can notice the unique difference in their grill or stove where the heat source permeates from and the hibachi has a smaller grill while the teppanyaki can have varied grill size.

Both cooking styles allows you to easily appreciate the skills and talent that went into cooking your lunch or dinner before your eyes.

Continue reading as we will dissect and discuss the difference between teppanyaki and hibachi in this article.

What is Hibachi-Style Cooking?

Hibachi style of cooking is a grilling technique that was developed by the Japanese 300 years ago and has continued to evolve to this day.

In Hibachi cooking the typical food recipes include meats, vegetables and rice are cooked on a large flat aluminum steel, chrome steel or cast iron grill, which is quite similar to teppanyaki (thus the reason for the confusion).

Since this is hibachi-style, then it should come as no surprise to see smaller and portable grills, as opposed to being a permanent fixture within a table or countertop.

When you employ the cooking style of hibachi, you need to actually enhance the flavor of the food and not cover it up.

Therefore, Japanese chefs limits the use of seasonings to only soy sauce, vinegar, salt, pepper, and sometimes garlic.

Fun fact: Modern hibachi cooking style is interchangeable with Teppanyaki-style of cooking.

Hibachi Cooking Style is a Form of Entertainment in Japan

Being a complex cooking method hibachi chefs actually enroll at specialized hibachi culinary schools to train how to do those incredible knife tricks and other cooking exhibition to entertain their customers.

Part of what makes hibachi such an appealing meal choice is the theatrical flair.

When you dine in a hibachi restaurant, you will have one of the most memorable dining experiences in your life, because the mouthwatering flavors of the food being prepared before your eyes plus the combination of knife skills and unique cooking tricks is surreal.

What is Teppanyaki-Style Cooking?

Teppanyaki (鉄板焼き, teppan-yaki) is a style of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food (very much similar to hibachi cooking style).

The term teppanyaki is an amalgamation of the Japanese words “teppan,” which means iron plate, and “yaki,” which translates to pan-fried, boiled or grilled (food).

In Japan, food that are cooked on an iron cook-top or griddle are considered teppanyaki (e.g. steak, shrimp, okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and monjayaki).

Much like the hibachi, or rather the teppanyaki is actually the originator of the cooking theatrics more than its analogue, one of the goals of teppanyaki is to entertain guests before serving their meals.

Latest teppanyaki griddles are powered by propane tanks, induction hubs, and electric heating systems. In some cases, wood pellets or charcoal briquettes are also used as fuel.

Unlike hibachi-style cooking, teppanyaki allows the chef to override the natural flavor of the
main ingredient (usually the meat or vegetable) and the chef will have unlimited options when using seasonings.

Read more about teppanyaki and hibachi recipes at the bitemybun blog.

chicken skewers

What Do You Choose?

Having now known the difference between hibachi and teppanyaki cooking styles, which cooking style for you is a tad more preferable to learn?

Well, if you ask me, then I should recommend that you learn both, because they have a lot of
similarities that you could almost just blur the line that separates them.

Also think of the benefit of knowing more cooking styles than just focusing on one. It will make you a more versatile chef compared to other chefs.

Technically, chefs are taught to be extremely creative in order to stand out and be unique in the culinary world, therefore it is imperative that you learn more than you think you should.

Our sister site www.bitemybun.com has lots and lots of topics about teppanyaki and hibachi; you can visit that webpage and expand your knowledge on the matter and find lots of interesting things to read.

The Takeaway

There are a lot of really cool reasons why you need to learn both the hibachi and teppanyaki cooking styles and that’s what makes these Japanese food preparation methods so enthralling!

First off, just about everything served in regular restaurants tastes the same, but you won’t get that in a hibachi or a teppanyaki restaurant.

Oh no! When you dine in a teppanyaki or hibachi restaurant the food tastes so good that they will explode your sense of taste and experience flavors you never thought exist.

Teppanyaki and hibachi chefs does not believe in a linear course meal. They do chaos which blows people’s minds plus their theatrics, well, they make your eyes entertain with their grilling-acrobatics.

You don’t get to interact with the chefs in other restaurants and it gives an impression of elitism between the chef and you.

In a teppanyaki/hibachi restaurant the chef throws food into your mouth as part of their theatrical performance. How’s that for fun?

Dining in a teppanyaki or hibachi restaurant is like having dinner and enjoying a circus or a magic show all at the same time!

There is nothing better on Earth than being entertained by a Japanese ninja teppanyaki/hibachi chef.