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Hibachi vs Teriyaki: The 6 Differences You Need To Know

If you love Japanese-style dishes and want to know more about them, you are in the right place. We are dedicated to bringing culture and dishes closer to you and taking you on a culinary adventure every time.

Today we are taking a closer look into the difference between Teriyaki and Hibachi. While we agree that those dishes are equally delicious there are some amazing facts that make each one unique. By the end of today’s article, you will be an expert on Japanese dishes.

So, let’s jump right into this delicious journey and see where it takes us.

What is Hibachi?

You might have heard about Hibachi before, but are you sure you know what it is?

The definition of Hibachi can take you in two separate ways, depending on who you are asking. In Japanese culture Hibachi means “hot/fire pot” and as such represents a place where you would cook your food.

The design of these wooden or ceramic containers can be so elaborate that it’s often incorporated into furniture, like tables where the cook will demonstrate his abilities and prepare something delicious.

On the other hand, Hibachi has also become a name for a dish prepared on such grills. Its popularity grew over the years, and you can now find small portable grills that will allow you to prepare something from Japanese cuisine and so much more.

What are Hibachi style dishes?

Hibachi has become a universal place for making all kinds of dishes like the famous Hibachi chicken, sandwiches, grilled meats and so much more. The unique taste of these dishes allowed it to become extremely popular all around the world, but especially in the United States.

One of the most important things you need to remember about Hibachi cooking is the temperature. The grill or the surface you are preparing your dishes on needs to be extremely hot

This means you need to preheat the grill before putting any meat on it. The cooking process is simple and fast, so make all the preparations before the grilling starts.

One of the most famous dishes is certainly the Hibachi chicken, but this is not the only delicious recipe you can make. The base of every Hibachi dish is thinly sliced meat, any kind you love with added zucchini, onion, garlic, and ginger. 

The thing that will make all the difference is the soy sauce added. This will make this stir-fry amazing and a good choice for any occasion. 

Every dish prepared this way can be called Hibachi, but if you want to learn more about the difference between Teriyaki vs Hibachi keep on reading.

What is Teriyaki?

Although Teriyaki, just like Hibachi, is also a cooking style, in the United States this word is mostly associated with the homonymous sauce.

To put it simply, we could say that Teriyaki is grilled food with the addition of an extremely flavorful glaze made of soy sauce with additions.

Many people who love Japanese cuisine will know that Teriyaki actually means “glossy roast”. The name came from the end result and the dish that appears to have the aforementioned glaze over it when it’s done. 

It’s not all about the preparation like the Hibachi dishes, it’s more about ingredients and soy sauce with additions used to get that amazing taste. 

Just like Hibachi dishes, you would start with some meat, but the vegetables are not necessary.

What are Teriyaki style dishes?

One of the most popular dishes is Teriyaki chicken, but you can use whichever meat you have or love. 

The dish can be prepared in various ways, but if you want to make it Teriyaki-style you need the secret sauce. Teriyaki dishes have soy sauce with added seasoning, sugar and even sake or mirin added. 

The meat is marinated in the sauce and skewered before cooking. The amazing and delicious sauce is used for glazing during the cooking process and the end result is a tender, moist, and umami dish.

What’s the difference between Hibachi and Teriyaki?

Hibachi vs Teriyaki: while we can all agree that both dishes are delicious, there are some differences between them that you should know about.

Most of the time you will be able to tell the difference just by looking at the dishes but for more details keep on reading.

This will help you become an expert in Japanese cuisine and enable you to prepare everything at home, with ease.

1. Sauce

The most obvious difference between Teriyaki and Hibachi is the sauce. 

While both dishes are made with soy sauce there are some additions in both that make them unique and quite delicious. 

Hibachi dishes have soy sauce with three different dry spices added. These spices are usually garlic, ginger, and sesame. Most of the time you will notice that strong garlic-y smell and taste, but the sauce is mild and doesn’t overwhelm the dish.

On the other hand, when you prepare a Teriyaki sauce you will need soy sauce, sugar, spices, and even some kind of alcohol. Most of the time Japanese cooks will add sake or mirin, which will give the sauce that unique sweet taste. 

Don’t worry about the alcohol in the marinade, since it will evaporate during cooking. If you like that sweeter taste go for the mirin as it will have lower alcohol content and more sugar.

2. Cooking

Preparation of these amazing dishes is also different, so pay close attention to this part.

Teriyaki dishes have small meat slices that are marinated in the sauce before the cooking and additionally glazed during the cooking process. This makes the meat tender, moist, and deliciously glossy in the end.

Unlike Teriyaki, Hibachi dishes are just dipped in the soy sauce before grilling and then put on high temperature for a short amount of time. This leaves the meat a bit more dry, but delicious.

One of the most obvious things that differentiate the preparation of these two dishes is the grill used to prepare all Hibachi dishes.

3. Ingredients

Hibachi sauce is made with the simple ingredients we mentioned above, but one more thing you need to keep in mind is the rest of the ingredients that are incorporated in the dish. 

Both Hibachi and Teriyaki have meat as a base, but Hibachi dishes are more like stir-fries with tons of added veggies and served with rice. 

Teriyaki on the other hand is skewered meat with glazed sauce, usually served with steamed vegetables on the side.

There are many variations on both dishes so you might find you love how it’s prepared in some restaurants but not in others. 

4. Appearance

Once these two dishes are served you will instantly know what’s Teriyaki style dish and what’s prepared as Hibachi. 

Most of the time the main difference will be in the appearance of the meat because Teriyaki will have more sauce and Hibachi should be slightly drier.

In addition, when you see a plate with added rice, pasta, vegetables, and meat all in the same brownish sauce it’s a Hibachi dish. On the other hand, if the meat looks glazed and shiny, with added steamed broccoli and other vegetables it’s Teriyaki.

5. Taste

Japanese cuisine is famous all around the world for its full and unique taste, and while both dishes we are discussing have soy sauce there is a big difference in taste. 

Since Hibachi dishes are just dipped in soy sauce with garlic and ginger before cooking they are usually mild and delicious. A perfect addition to vegetables and rice served with it.

If you order a Teriyaki chicken you will notice that the flavor is quite strong, sweet, and lingering. This is why it’s often served with steamed vegetables that don’t have too much flavor.

So, if you are in a mood for something strong and delicious order Teriyaki, but if you are craving something light and nutritious choose a Hibachi dish instead.

6. Nutritional value

Hibachi and Teriyaki dishes have one more thing that sets them apart, and that is caloric and nutrient value. 

If you are looking for a healthier version of a Japanese dish you should go for Hibachi, as it will have more vegetables and less sodium and sugar. If you choose steamed rice instead of a fried one the dish will be even healthier.

On the other hand, Teriyaki sauce will have more sugar and sodium, and the dish will not incorporate so many veggies. While the taste will be fuller, there will be more calories.

So, if you are thinking about healthier options always consider Hibachi first.

Are Hibachi and Teriyaki the same?

While there are some similarities like soy sauce and meat used in both dishes they are completely different.

Keep in mind that Hibachi often refers to the way the meat is prepared on the hot grill or pot and that Teriyaki means glazed meat. Although both terms are now used to describe dishes, you might be surprised by the answers you get in traditional Japanese restaurants. 

So, at the end of the day here is how to differentiate the two:

  • Hibachi dish looks like a stir-fry, has a lot of veggies and it’s served with white rice.
  • Teriyaki dish will have that glazed meat with a lot of sauce and a few steamed veggies on the side.

Both dishes are equally delicious, and both are easily made at home. All you need is the right tools, some basic ingredients, and a passion for cooking one amazing Japanese meal.

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Passionate chef, in love with everything related to food and cooking it to perfection!
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