Hibachi Bowl: You Want to Try This Flavor Bomb
Every cuisine has one hidden gem that never gets the same attention as its peers. Hibachi bowl is that!
Now an avid Japanese food lover would definitely know about it and might even be a fan of it.
But the masses who keep Japanese food in their casual weekend dinner plans? They don’t!
If you are one of those people, keep reading.
A hibachi bowl serves grilled meat, veggies, and shrimp on with white rice jumbled up in a single bowl, sided or topped with special hibachi sauce.
In this dedicated article, we will dive deep into whatever information is available about the hibachi bowl, along with some cook-at-home tips you can use to prepare it yourself.
In this post we'll cover:
- 1 What is hibachi bowl?
- 2 What does a hibachi bowl taste like?
- 3 How to cook a hibachi bowl?
- 4 How to eat a hibachi bowl
- 5 What is the origin of the hibachi bowl?
- 6 Popular hibachi bowl pairings
- 7 Types of hibachi bowls
- 8 Popular hibachi bowl seasonings
- 9 What are hibachi bowl ingredients?
- 10 Where to eat hibachi bowl
- 11 Is hibachi bowl healthy?
- 12 What is the most closely related dish to hibachi bowl?
- 13 Conclusion
What is hibachi bowl?
Hibachi bowl is a Japanese dish served in traditional hibachi or teppanyaki restaurants that contains grilled meat, vegetables, seafood, and fried rice.
The most common protein used in the dish is chicken and shrimp.
However, steak is also one of the most popular options if you want your bowl to be unique and a little more complex in terms of flavor.
The most common rice used to side with protein is calrose rice.
It has a unique, sticky texture, similar to sushi rice (learn about the wonderful world of sticky rice here).
However, simple jasmine rice will also work.
Although hibachi bowl has quite a beautiful blend of different flavors, it is often sided or topped with a soy-based sauce to accentuate its taste further.
In fact, the sauce is what makes the bowl!
If you have been to a hibachi-style buffet restaurant, you know how important the sauces are for flavor.
Hibachi bowls are usually served there with what is called hibachi yellow sauce.
You can prepare this sauce at home following our very own hibachi restaurant yellow sauce recipe!
Hibachi bowl is better when eaten in a traditional hibachi or teppanyaki restaurant due to all the entertainment and stuff (where they cook in front of you), but you can also prepare it at home.
Side note: please know that traditional hibachi is very different from what most would think of as a hibachi restaurant, which is actually more teppanyaki (I explain here)
If you have a traditional hibachi grill, you can use it for cooking the protein and seafood and then using a wok for the rice.
However, if you don’t have a grill, you can simply cook everything in a wok.
Although It lacks the necessary smokiness associated with cooking with hibachi grill, you get the same taste as any teppanyaki restaurant.
However, mind you, although hibachi dishes are known for their simple and quick preparation, making one at home can take quite some time, as well as some seasoned hands in the kitchen.
That being out of the question, hibachi bowl is one of the most tantalizing dishes you’ll ever eat.
What does a hibachi bowl taste like?
Hibachi bowl has one of the most unique mix of flavors out there. It’s a savory combination of grilled meats, vegetables, and rice cooked on a hot grill.
You get a smoky flavor from the grilled meat, with hints of buttery-sweetness and a little saltiness from the shrimp.
This, combined with the spicy-sweet flavor profiles from different vegetables like zucchini, carrots, onions, and herbs and spices like garlic and ginger, makes the dish even more complex.
The addition of mild, earthy, and slightly meaty flavor from the mushrooms, although milds down the intensity of other flavors, adds its own unique touch, further accentuating the flavor complexity.
The rice adds a subtle sweetness to the mix, making it a truly unique and enjoyable experience.
A hibachi bowl is a flavor bomb bound to please anyone who takes a bite.
Even the pickiest eaters will love it!
How to cook a hibachi bowl?
Although hibachi foods have a very special way of cooking, as we mentioned earlier, you can also prepare it at home.
If you could use a hibachi grill for cooking the chicken, protein, and vegetables, that would be ideal.
However, even if you don’t have it, don’t fret! Here, we will tell you how to prepare the hibachi bowl with minimal equipment and ingredients.
Oh, and we’ll be mainly taking chicken as our protein choice. Of course, you can use steak!
Cooking hibachi bowl: step-by-step
So, without any ado, let’s get into the step-by-step breakdown of the whole process:
- Cut chicken breast into bite-sized pieces, and marinate it in soy sauce for 15-20 minutes. If you want to add more complexity to the flavors, you can add sesame oil, hoisin sauce, and minced garlic and ginger to the marinade.
- Heat a heavy skillet or wok over medium-high heat, brush its surface with a little sesame oil, and add the marinated chicken.
- Cook the chicken until it’s evenly golden brown. This can take about 10-12 minutes.
- When the chicken is perfectly cooked, the next step is to cook the veggies and mushrooms.
- So heat some olive oil to the wok/skillet, throw all the veggies in, and add salt, pepper, and soy sauce to the mixture.
- Cook until slightly golden and soft, and add the cooked chicken to it towards the end.
- Serve the chicken-veggie stir-fry with cooked rice in a bowl, topped with some homemade hibachi yellow sauce.
Why not use your beautiful donburi bowls to serve your hibachi dish!
How to eat a hibachi bowl
Except for the situation where you’re preparing hibachi by yourself, all you have to do is head to your local hibachi restaurant, order your favorite bowl, and let the chefs do the rest.
They’ll cook up a delicious combination of vegetables, proteins, and sauces, all served on steaming rice. You can pick your chopsticks and start eating the dish as you like.
The best part about eating a hibachi bowl is that it’s easy to customize.
Whether you like your food spicy, mild, or somewhere in between, you can ask the chefs to adjust the seasoning to your liking.
You can add extra veggies or proteins to make your bowl more delicious. In any case your hibachi bowl is sure to be a hit!
If you want to go authentic, of course you would use chopsticks to eat your bowl.
But a spoon or fork work just as well.
Have some extra sauce at hand to further season the dish if necessary.
What is the origin of the hibachi bowl?
Although hibachi bowl dishes are recent additions to the hibachi-style cuisine with no remarkable history, hibachi itself has a history that dates centuries back.
“Hibachi” literally means fire bowl, which refers to the particular, pot-like design of the gill.
It is basically a brazier, which is a container made of heat proof material that holds burning charcoal.
Find a traditional hibachi grill in my review of the best Japanese tabletop grills here.
It has been around since the Heian period in Japan, which was from 794 to 1185 AD. It’s believed that the hibachi grill or fire bowl was initially used to heat rooms, not cook food.
As time passed, the use of this device started to diversify, and later, it became a perfect cooking device commonly used in households, restaurants, and festivals.
The first hibachi restaurant was opened in 1945 in Japan. It was an immediate success and became a major attraction for the locals and tourists.
This success was not because of the unique taste of hibachi dishes but the show chefs put on while preparing the dish- It was not just dining but a complete experience.
While authentic hibachi cuisine still remains in Japan to this day, the term “hibachi” moved out of Japan quite quickly, and it was used for dishes that were not actually hibachi.
So while the term hibachi refers to a small cooking stove heated by charcoal, in North America it can also refer to a hot iron plate that used in teppanyaki restaurants.
This misunderstanding continues to this day, and even the best teppanyaki restaurants across America are known as hibachi when they are, in fact, not the real deal.
Popular hibachi bowl pairings
Here’s something you need to know about hibachi: it’s so flavorfully complex and hearty that you won’t even need to pair it with anything else to enjoy it more or make it more fulfilling.
However, if you are still vehement about pairing it with something else, try adding some shrimp or seafood to your bowl for that extra kick if you’re used to just making it with chicken.
If you’re used to eating intensely flavorful stuff, perhaps you would also like to ask for extra hibachi sauce, though it’s already used as a topping.
An ice-cold beer or some white wine also goes well alongside hibachi.
If you haven’t tried that before, we recommend it…especially the beer. It really gives you that true “street food” experience.
Learn about the tradition of yatai here: the Japanese street food stalls that you HAVE to experience
Types of hibachi bowls
Hibachi bowls are a delicious way to enjoy the flavors of your favorite hibachi restaurant right at home.
There are no special types of hibachi bowls for classification, but the dish can be made in several variations.
The classic hibachi bowl consists of chicken, rice, and vegetables, but you can also add other ingredients like shrimp, steak, or tofu.
You can also switch up the vegetables to include whatever you have.
The possibilities are endless!
Popular hibachi bowl seasonings
To get the most out of your homemade hibachi bowl, it’s important to season it with the right ingredients.
Popular seasonings for hibachi bowls include soy sauce, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, and mirin.
These ingredients can be combined to create a flavorful sauce that you can use to marinate the chicken or to drizzle over the bowl.
You can add a bit of chili paste or oil for a more intense flavor. However, keep in mind that traditional hibachi is entirely free of hot ingredients like chilies, etc.
What are hibachi bowl ingredients?
Hibachi bowls are the perfect way to enjoy the flavors of your favorite hibachi grill without leaving the house!
All you need are a few simple ingredients to make this delicious dinner.
Below is a list of every ingredient you can add to your favorite hibachi bowl:
- Red meat (steak)
- Pork (optional)
- Button or shiitake mushrooms
- Garlic (for marinade)
- Ginger (for marinade)
- Soy sauce
- Hoisin sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Hibachi yellow sauce (mustard and mayonnaise-based)
- Hibachi white sauce (recipe here)
Where to eat hibachi bowl
Authentic hibachi can only be experienced in Japan.
However, if you reside in America, you’re in luck! There are plenty of great places to choose from. For starters, try teppanyaki.
Although teppanyaki doesn’t have the same smoky taste as hibachi, all your hibachi dishes are listed on their menu, including hibachi bowl.
They are just prepared over a griddle rather than a grill.
Some restaurants provide their customers an all-you-can-eat hibachi buffet. This means you can customize your hibachi bowl to make your experience more unique.
Is hibachi bowl healthy?
Hibachi bowls are a great way to get your fill of healthy and delicious food.
Not only are they packed with protein-rich chicken, but they also contain plenty of nutritious veggies and a bed of rice.
Plus, you can customize your bowl with whatever ingredients you like, so you can make sure it’s as healthy as you want it to be.
The sauce, however, can be high in calories, fat and sodium, so take moderation when adding the sauce.
The copious amount of sodium-rich soy sauce that goes into making the marinade and sauce can harm your health.
When you make hibachi bowl at home, you can decide for yourself how much sauce you add.
When at a restaurant, you can request the sauce of the side. However, the meat will have likely been marinated in the sauce already.
The most closely related dish, often compared to hibachi bowl, is poke bowl.
A poke bowl is a Hawaiian dish that’s becoming increasingly popular around the world.
It’s a delicious mix of raw fish, vegetables, and other ingredients served over a bed of rice.
The fish is usually tuna, salmon, or octopus and marinated in various sauces and spices.
The vegetables can include cucumber, avocado, seaweed, and edamame, with toppings such as sesame seeds, furikake, and pickled ginger.
Wondering how a poke bowl differs from a sushi bowl? I answer that question here!
Hibachi bowl is one of the most delicious dishes from Japan you will ever bless your tastebuds with. It is packed with flavor despite using minimal seasonings.
Moreover, it is super easy to prepare at home and could become your new favorite for lazy weekend-night dinners where you need to whip up something that is quick to prepare and has a delicious taste.
Or it on your next visit to a hibachi restaurant or make it yourself at home.
Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.