• Exploring the History of Teppanyaki

    If you have ever been to a teppanyaki restaurant, then you know the performance is just as important as the food. Although today’s teppanyaki dining usually happens in restaurants with large groups of diners, its origins are in the home, where people gathered together over small grills to cook and eat their meals. Generally, teppanyaki restaurants are more popular in the U.S. than in Japan, but the techniques and flavors used are steeped in Japanese traditions.

    The Rise of Teppanyaki Restaurants

    Originally, teppanyaki was a style of cooking that was performed on small, flat grill tops at home. In fact, the work teppan means “iron plate” while the word yaki means “grill.” This style of cooking was not done for entertainment’s sake but was simply a way of preparing family meals. However, in 1945, the first teppanyaki restaurant, called Misono, opened up in Tokyo. The restaurant was not popular with locals in Japan, who did not like the group dining style of the meals. However, it was instantly embraced by Westerners who were in Japan after the end of WWII and by tourists who visited the country. They fell in love with the showmanship of the flipping knives and flaming onion volcanoes, and soon, Misono became a chain throughout Japan.

    Teppanyaki Restaurants in the West

    Westerners loved teppanyaki so much that soon the restaurant concept moved outside of Japan to Western countries. Benihana was the first teppanyaki restaurant in the U.S. It opened its doors in New York in 1964 and is now a national restaurant chain. Many teppanyaki restaurants in the U.S. are referred to as Japanese steakhouses and complement their teppanyaki menus with other Japanese foods, including hibachi entrees and sushi. Japanese cocktails and sakes are other staples of most teppanyaki restaurants.

    Indulge in the excitement of teppanyaki dining yourself at House of Genji. Our teppanyaki restaurant in San Jose is the perfect place for date nights, family dinners, and celebrations. You can find out more about our menu by calling (408) 453-8120.

  • Budgeting for Your Trip to Japan

    Many people who are eager to travel to Japan are worried about the cost of the trip. Japan has a reputation for being a very expensive destination, but in reality, there are lots of ways to experience the country on a budget, with low-cost options for Japanese food, hotels, and more.

    Watch this video for advice on traveling to Japan while sticking to a budget. Because Japan has recently experienced a tourism boom, lots of low-cost domestic travel, food, and accommodation options have appeared. With a little planning and research, you can save a significant amount of money.

    For a taste of Japan closer to home, try House of Genji. We offer teppanyaki dining and a range of other traditional Japanese foods, with lunch and dinner service. Call our Japanese restaurant in San Jose at (408) 453-8120 for more info.

  • Inside the World of Japanese Whiskies

    When people think of whiskies, they tend to think of Scotch made in Scotland, bourbon made in America, or rye made in Canada. However, Japanese whiskies have surged in popularity in recent years and are giving these standards a run for their money. In fact, the Yamazaki distillery in Japan was recently awarded the distinction of having the best single-malt whisky in the world, according to a leading critic, beating out the top distilleries in Scotland. Since then, demand for Japanese whiskies has been growing and more people across the globe are indulging. If you love Japanese food, why not give Japanese whiskies a try? This information will help you pick a bottle.

    Flavor Profiles

    Many of the people who make whiskies in Japan got their start by training in the distilleries of Scotland, so they bring back many of the distilling and flavoring techniques that are common in Scotch. The whiskies produced in Japan have much more in common with Scotch than bourbon or rye. However, whiskies made in Japan usually are smoother that Scotch.

    Though most Japanese whiskies are smoother than Scotches, the flavors vary greatly. Some of them mimic the peaty flavors of Scotches from the Islay region of Scotland, while others are very light, with floral or vanilla notes.

    Popular Bottles

    Japanese whiskies are changing in response to high demand. Whiskies used to be aged for 12 years or more, but because it became impossible to turn around enough whisky fast enough to meet the demand, younger bottles are flooding the market. Yamazaki 12-year single malt is a highly sought after, peaty pour. Miyagikyo single malt is heavily influenced by sherry flavors and has a fruity flavor with a hint of peat. Akashi is one of the easiest to find and popular Japanese whiskies. The flavors are not complex, but it is extremely smooth, with oak and spice flavors.

    For more of the flavors of Japan, visit House of Genji. From our cocktail lounge to our teppanyaki dining, our Japanese restaurant in San Jose has something for everyone. Dial  (408) 453-8120 to find out more about our menu and hours.