Japanese Grilled Foods: Types and Traditions

The Many Faces of Japanese Grilled Foods

One of the oldest cooking techniques since the dawn of humanity is grilling over open flame. Traditionally, in Japanese homes, the family hearth is the center of the house where people come together for warmth, light, drying clothes and cooking. For two thousand years until the 1950s, it was wood-base charcoal grilling that cooked food. From then, many cooking techniques developed as well as the dishes cooked. Here, we delve on the different types of Japanese grilled food. Some of them you might have already tried and loved.

Teppanyaki is one of the most popular, using teppan-style cooking. The meat and vegetables are grilled on open-iron foodtop. Teppanyaki came into being in post-war Japan when it copied the American-style steakhouse setting. Today’s teppanyaki styles, tastes and presentations are only limited through a chef’s creative skills. The popular Japanese pancake, okonomiyaki, also uses the teppan.

There is Yakitori and Yakiton. Yakitori refers to chicken meat. Chicken parts are grilled over charcoal until they are crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside. All parts of the chicken are used, even hearts and intestines. On the other hand, yakiton is similar but it is for pork.

Yakiniku is Japanese barbeque, with beef or pork cooked over charcoal flame tableside. The meat are bite-sized slices, juicy and tender in themselves but also because various marinades and dipping sauces are used. There’s sakana no shioyaki which refers to any fish seasoned with salt and grilled over charcoal. Most popular grilled and skewered fish are the ayu (sweetfish) and the saba (mackerel).

Robatayaki or robata, is a style of cooking around an irori hearth originated by Hokkaido fishermen. Robata restaurants that specialized in this technique have a large irori hearth or central grill with seats around it. The chef lays all the meat, fish or shrimps for diners to see and choose from. Food is grilled and served on a wooden oar in tribute to the cuisine’s fisherman origins.

However, if you are having kabayaki, grilled food from the Edo period, the fish or eel is first boned and butterflied and the fillet marinated in sweet soy-based sauce. Then they are skewered, cooked over charcoal and served with steamed rice.

You never thought grilled Japanese food could have different cooking techniques, did you?

Grilled to Perfection in Issaquah

Try any of Aji Sushi’s juicy offerings – grilled just right. Here at your Issaquah sushi restaurant, our cooking and cooking equipment spell quality – for dining enjoyment.