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.

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