What Is Hibachi?

If you have been to a traditional Japanese restaurant, then you may have come across the term hibachi being used. This term refers to a cooking style, which for some means grilled Japanese-style cuisine. Hibachi relates to the type of grills that are used in the cooking process.

Hibachi cuisine can be prepared with a wide range of ingredients, but it is mostly used for steak, (see also: How To Season Steak)seafood, and chicken. The true meaning of this term has been lost over time, due to being used incorrectly. In addition to also becoming confused with other cooking styles. 

In this article, we will discuss what hibachi really means and where this term originally comes from. 

Origins Of Hibachi

Hibachi, which is Japanese for “fire bowl,” is an open-topped pot or a box made of fire-proof material. It was originally used to heat a space using charcoal and ash. It is thought to have originated during the Heian era (794 to 1185).

One could warm their hands and feet as well as heat water around this classic heating device, which ranged in shapes from vase-like pots to heavy and complex furniture pieces. 

Hibachi is thought to have been used to grill traditional Japanese snacks at least by the late 1800s, a perfect accompaniment to the tea being brewed in the teapots.

Hibachi Comes To America

In the late 1930s, hibachi made its way to America. In particular, in North America, the name “hibachi” can refer to either an iron hot plate used in teppanyaki restaurants or a small cooking burner fueled by charcoal (called a shichirin in Japanese). 

Teppanyaki, which is frequently mistaken with hibachi, is a post-World War II variation of Japanese cooking that makes use of an iron griddle.

While the two are confused for one another, Hibachi and Teppanyaki are two different things. 

Hibachi Grills Vs Teppanyaki Grills

Hibachi grills are compact, transportable barbecues made of cast iron. These grills feature an open grate and frequently use charcoal as a fuel source. American restaurants now use electric hibachis so that meals can be cooked indoors. 

Teppanyaki grilling, in contrast, includes cooking food in front of customers on an iron griddle with a flat, solid surface. Typically, a propane flame is used as the heat source for teppanyaki grills.

As a result, due to the hibachi’s open-grate design, they are typically utilized to cook larger foods. While they are cooking, hibachi chefs might perform to keep guests interested.

However, anyone can purchase their own hibachi grill to enjoy hibachi cooked food.  

Since they are one of the smallest barbecue grills on the market, they are ideal appliances for apartments, camping tips or parties.

This is because they are very lightweight and cook food quickly, but still provide great flavor. 

What Should Expect When You Go To A Hibachi Restaurant?

Hibachi restaurants are common in American cities. They are typically found in strip malls or next to other Asian eateries.

As you enter a hibachi restaurant, a large, circular table with a grill in the center will be waiting for you.

The chef will then appear at your table and begin preparing your meal. You’ll be able to see the meal being freshly made and served onto your plate. 

Ask the chef any questions you may have regarding the meal, as they are usually more than ready to chat and instruct you on the ins and outs of hibachi cuisine.

However, it is important that you don’t reach across the grill as they are cooking, as this is quite dangerous. 

What Can You Cook On A Hibachi Grill?

Yakitori is frequently related to hibachi grills. This is a  Japanese style of skewered chicken. To prepare it, the meat is skewered with kushi, a kind of skewer constructed from steel, bamboo, or materials similar to these.

Beef, prawns, fish, quail, and various vegetables can all be cooked over a hibachi grill. Hibachi cooking is meant to bring out the flavors of the meal, not to overpower them. The most common condiments (see also: What Is Relish?)used by hibachi chefs are often soy sauce, salt, vinegar, pepper, and occasionally garlic. 

If using a charcoal hibachi, this will provide your food with a unique smoky flavor. Thus, you don’t want to overpower the flavors even more with other flavors or condiments. 

Benefits Of Hibachi Grills

As you may see above, there are a lot of benefits from using a hibachi grill. Especially, as they can be used both indoors and outdoors. 

Not only are they really convenient as they are lightweight and portable. However, due to their compact size, the grill heats up very quickly and can help cook your food evenly but quickly at the same time. Thus, you don’t have to worry about your food over or undercooking. 

In addition to this, the charcoal grill can help you give a better depth of flavor to your dishes. Since they also use a lot less oil, this can make certain dishes much healthier.

You can cook almost any kind of food on the grill, from varying different meats, vegetables and in some restaurants they even cook rice on these grills. 

Final Thoughts 

Over the years, hibachi has gotten confused with different types of grills. Now, you should understand that a hibachi is a type of traditional Japanese heating and cooking device.

It can come in many forms, such as cylindrical or an open-top container. In addition, they can use electricity or charcoal to power the grill. 

You can use this device to cook various meals and ingredients. However, you can also go to a hibachi restaurant and enjoy watching your meal being cooked in front of you.

We hope this article has been helpful and given you a better insight into what hibachi is. 

Kaitlyn James
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