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Japanese Food
Teppanyaki
Teppanyaki (鉄板焼き, teppan'yaki) - A type of Japanese cuisine that uses an iron griddle to cook food.

The word "teppanyaki" is derived from teppan (鉄板), which means iron plate, and yaki (焼き), which means grilled.

In Japan, teppanyaki may refer to any of a number of dishes cooked using a teppan, including okonomiyaki, yakisoba, and monjayaki, frequently with the hot plate located in the center of the diners' table. The form of teppanyaki most familiar to North Americans consists of steak and other meats, along with vegetable accompaniments. In North America, it is also known by the name of hibachi, and the establishments are often referred to as "Japanese steakhouses."

Typical ingredients used for teppanyaki are beef, shrimp, scallops, lobster, chicken and assorted vegetables. Soybean oil is typically used to cook the ingredients. In Japan, many teppanyaki restaurants feature Kobe beef. Side dishes of mung bean sprouts, zucchini, garlic chips or fried rice usually accompany the meal. Some restaurants provide sauces in which to dip the food; usually, in Japan, only soy sauce is offered.

The originator of the teppanyaki-style steakhouse is the Japanese restaurant chain Misono, which introduced the concept of cooking Western-influenced food on a teppan in Japan in 1945. They soon found that the cuisine was even more popular with foreigners than with the Japanese, who enjoyed both watching the skilled maneuvers of the chefs preparing the food as well as the cuisine, somewhat more familiar than more traditional Japanese dishes. As the restaurants became more popular tourist spots with non-Japanese, the chain introduced changes increasing the performance aspect of the chef's preparation, such as stacking round slices of onion in the shape of Mt. Fuji and lighting oil contained within on fire, producing a flaming onion volcano.
 
In the United States, teppanyaki was made famous by the Benihana restaurant chain which opened its first restaurant in New York in 1964. Benihana and other chains of teppanyaki steakhouses continue to place an emphasis on the chef performing a show for the diners, continuing to introduce new variations and tricks. The show can include juggling utensils, flipping a shrimp into his shirt pocket, tossing an egg up in the air and splitting it with his knife, and flipping flattened shrimp pieces into the diners' mouths.

Information source: “Teppanyaki.” wikipedia.org. Article date: 29 Jan. 2008. Retrieved: Wikipedia. 4 Feb. 2008 <Teppanyaki>.

Video - The following shows a very skilled and entertaining chef preparing teppanyaki for some customers.
 
 

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