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Why you should try Japanese teppanyaki for dinner tonight

Lisa Ellen Niver is an award-winning travel expert who has explored 100 countries.  Niver is the creator of popular travel website, We Said Go Travel, a top 100 travel blog with monthly reach of tens of thousands and with international t...

Move over hibachi, Japanese teppanyaki grilling is my new favorite

If you haven't tried teppanyaki (鉄板焼き), it needs to be at the top of your list.

What is teppanyaki?

Teppanyaki is one of my favorite things for dinner. I love when this Japanese-style dinner is the show. The Japanese words literally mean grilled on an iron plate — teppan (鉄板) translates to iron plate and yaki (焼き) means grilled, broiled or pan-fried.

More: The best vegetarian cooking tips from our Experts community

Teppanyaki vs. hibachi grilling

Teppanyaki has a flat solid cooking surface more like a griddle, and Hibachi uses an open-grate grill. Hibachi is better for larger things, as smaller finely chopped carrots, onions and rice will fall through this system. Hanjip is a Korean BBQ in Culver City while ROKU Sunset is teppanyaki.

History of teppanyaki in America

The first chain to bring Japanese teppanyaki to America was the “Misono” chain in 1945 shortly after World War II. Americans loved the food and flavor of teppanyaki but also the chef who could juggle knives, tell jokes and set the entire grill on fire. In 1954, a famous Japanese wrestler, Hiroaki "Rocky" Aoki, opened the first Benihana teppanyaki restaurant in New York City and brought the teppanyaki experience to millions with its eighty restaurants around the globe.

I have been lucky to find amazing teppanyaki chefs all over America, from St. Paul to Palm Desert and from Guam to Los Angeles. Each one has a different flair, but they never disappoint.

More: Sneak some greens into dinner: Garlicky kale and chicken pizza

My three favorite places for teppanyaki:

  1. St PaulSaji-Ya
    "Saji-Ya, where festive meets intimate, and where local ingredients and selectively imported Japanese ingredients are show-cased through the passion of our chefs. Our goal: to serve you tasty dishes that are pleasing to the eye and to make you feel at ease with service that is always friendly."
  2. Palm Desert: Mikado
    "One of the finest Palm Desert restaurants, the ancient tradition of the Samurai lives on at Mikado, where knife-twirling chefs use fire and steam to create mouthwatering culinary art from the freshest meats, seafood and produce."
  3. Los Angeles: ROKU Sunset
    “ROKU challenges traditional teppanyaki to sharpened standards, combining a cutting-edge setting with exceptional ingredients and impeccable sushi. Teppan chefs prepare A-5 Japanese Wagyu, Matsuzaka beef, Santa Barbara spot prawns and other high-quality ingredients at interactive grill tables. ROKU’s menu offers new style appetizers, inventive entrees and select favorites from the iconic Sushi Roku brand alongside a vast selection of handpicked sakes, crafted cocktails and the largest selection of Japanese whiskey in the LA culinary scene.”

Where do you love to eat teppanyaki? Let me know, and maybe I will go there next!

More: 3 Places I love to eat if you're visiting Los Angeles

Find more tasty treats from my trips and travel tales on my website, We Said Go Travel, or my YouTube Channel.

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