As you may have guessed, Japan is the country of origin of these very specific terms. Teppanyaki (teppan-yaki) refers to a type of cooking that involves cooking meat on an iron plate (Teppan means “Iron Plate”, and “Yaki” means grilled or pan-fried).
What is Teppanyaki?
Its a 200 year-old concept that takes the traditional barbecue we’re familiar with in the west, but utilises traditional Japanese iron plate cooking methods. The cooking surface is literally a flat iron plate, heated by propane gas or electricity.
Using this style of cooking, meats like steak, chicken, and seafood can be cooked, seasoned and specialist dishes can be made. Other foods can be created, like Yakisoba (fried noodles), Okonomiyaki and Monjayaki (savoury pancakes) and more.
As someone who’s had the opportunity to visit Japan and eat in various Tokyo restaurants, you’ll often see the chefs cooking in the center of the room, with the eating guests sitting around the outside – giving a theatrical look to the cooking process.
This style of eating has slowly made its way back across to Europe, the UK and North America, with Teppanyaki-style steakhouses and restaurants utilising these cooking techniques and dishes and even creating their own.
A key part of the experience is flexibility, and choice. Often you can specifically select the ingredients to create a dish right for you, even sometimes including delicacies like kobe or wagyu beef, but also things like lobster, shrimp and fried noodles.
What is Yakiniku?
The word Yakiniku refers to grilled meat itself, often cooked using the Teppanyaki methods, on the traditional iron plate. It’s loved so much by Japan that it has its own day of celebration every year, 29th August is the annual “Yakiniku Day”.
You’ll find various cuts of Beef, Pork, Chicken, Seafood and even Offal and Vegetables cooked using this special method.
These will be cooked in bite-size pieces on a teppanyaki griddle and is a very popular way to cook and eat in both Japan and Korea, especially.
Yakiniku is often cooked by the diners themselves – the cuts of meat are prepared by the restaurant and brought to the table.
The diners themselves cook the ingredients on a small Teppanyaki grill built into the table. The meats and/or vegetables can then be dipped into sauces such as soy sauce.
How can I get started?
Teppanyaki and Yakiniku restaurants exist in the UK, but are still a very exclusive dining experience. To get started creating your own delectable Japanese-style dining experience, you’ll need a Teppanyaki Griddle and high quality vegetables, sauces and cuts of meat.
Gochisosama Deshita! (“Thank you for the meal”)