WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: Broiled Eel with Ginger and Noodles served in a hot Dashi Broth at Shibuya photographed in Washington, DC on October 22, 2020. (Photo by Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post via Getty Images).
Food - Drink
The Key Difference Between Teppanyaki And Hibachi
Japan has pioneered many unique culinary techniques, including two special grilling methods: teppanyaki and hibachi. However, many westerners tend to use these two terms interchangeably or confuse them for one another, and while both cooking methods do have their similarities, they use different techniques and tools.
Both teppanyaki and hibachi techniques can be used to cook meat, seafood, and vegetables, and are popular in communal dining restaurants. Most Americans think that "hibachi" involves large, heated steel tables, much like oversize griddles, that chefs use to cook and serve food in front of customers' eyes, but this is a misnomer.
In Japan, a hibachi is actually a bowl-shaped charcoal or wood burner, similar to a portable fire pit with a grill grate over it that can be used to cook foods, a technique sometimes called "shichirin." Contrary to the image of hibachi restaurants in the U.S., Japanese-style hibachi is similar to open-fire barbequing, and much more casual.
The "hibachi" that Americans are familiar with is actually teppanyaki, a technique that is newer than hibachi grilling and draws inspiration from it. "Teppanyaki" means "iron plate grilled," which highlights the difference between hibachi and teppanyaki, which uses a gas- or propane-fueled metal plate to cook foods, with plenty of showmanship.