Teppanyaki vs Teriyaki | Comparing Origin, Cooking Method & Nutrition

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  April 5, 2021

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Teppanyaki and teriyaki.

They sound the same, but they are actually quite different.

Although they’re both Japanese cooking methods, teriyaki means that certain ingredients are being integrated while teppanyaki refers to specific cookware being used.

Teppanyaki vs teriyaki

To make it clearer, teriyaki is just the name of the sauce being used:

Teriyaki is a cooking technique where foods are grilled or broiled in teriyaki sauce. Teppanyaki, on the other hand, is a style of cooking where the chef uses a large metal plate, called a teppan, to grill food. So Teriyaki is a sauce, Teppanyaki a cooking style.

Also one is actually from Japan while the other isn’t!

This article will explore the likenesses and differences between these cooking concepts, so you will never get confused again.

“Yaki” might be the reason for the confusion

The word teriyaki consists of the word “teri” which means shine or luster and the word “yaki” which means to grill or broil.

This is chicken teriyaki:

Bowl of chicken teriyaki

You can see the shininess of the sauce on the grilled chicken.

Often people confuse teppanyaki and teriyaki because both use the word “yaki”, so they are both foods that are grilled.

But teppanyaki is something else. Have you ever gone to a Japanese restaurant where the food was prepared in front of the guests?

A restaurant like this one?

Cooking in front of you on a teppanyaki grill

This type of cooking is often done on a large iron plate called a “teppan” making for teppanyaki-style cooking. Or as we Westerners mistakenly like to call it, a “hibachi restaurant” (but that’s a whole other topic).

So “teppan” is the large flat grill, and the word “yaki” means broiled, grilled, or pan-fried.

In fact, the word teppanyaki is composed of the word teppan and the word yaki which means broiled, grilled, or pan-fried.

Teppan grills are typically propane heated and have a flat surface.

Teppanyaki vs teriyaki (1)

While they are often used at restaurants, they can be used at home as well.

In Western cuisine, they are used to cook ingredients like seafood, beef, chicken, and a variety of vegetables. Soybean oil is typically used as the base.

In Japanese restaurants, teppan is used to cook noodles, cabbage, and sliced meat in vegetable oil, animal fat, or a mixture of the two.

Food prepared teppanyaki-style usually has a lightly seasoned flavor although chefs may go heavier on the sauces to enhance the taste.

Read more on the origin of Teppanyaki here: Japanese Teppanyaki & its meaning: how it came to Japan.

Can you make Teriyaki on a Teppanyaki grill?

Technically you can, although because most food prepared on the teppanyaki grill will be lightly seasoned, the grilling normally wouldn’t involve teriyaki sauce.

Teriyaki is a style of Japanese cuisine that incorporates the use of teriyaki sauce, a glaze composed of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin.

Also, teriyaki chicken for example, is usually made over a flame grill with the sauce as a glaze.

The style of cooking is a popular way to prepare pork, lamb, beef and seafood, and a variety of vegetables. The items are brushed with the sauce several times while they are cooking.

Teriyaki sauce has a sweet flavor, but it can also have a kick depending on the ingredients it is made with.

But yes, interestingly enough, teriyaki can be used in teppanyaki cooking.

Teppanyaki style teriyaki steak and chicken are popular dishes in Western teppanyaki restaurants.

Don’t confuse teriyaki with yakitori either! Read: is yakitori the same as teriyaki?

Origin of Teppanyaki vs Teriyaki

While both teppanyaki and teriyaki have names that sound Japanese, they are not entirely Japanese in origin.

Teppanyaki originated in Japan but it has a strong Western influence.

Teriyaki actually originated in Hawaii although it was influenced by Japanese immigrants.

Teppanyaki is believed to have been created by Shigeji Fujioka who transformed his restaurant chain Misono into a teppanyaki-style steakhouse.

He started cooking Western-inspired dishes on a teppan in his restaurants in 1945.

The performance aspect as well as the taste of the cuisine was appealing to foreigners making it a business-boosting tourist attraction.

It is believed that Teriyaki actually originated in Hawaii, not Japan.

It is said that Japanese immigrants created the sauce while living on the island by mixing ingredients like pineapple juice, brown sugar, and soy sauce. It was first used as a marinade for chicken.

Read more about the origin of Teriyaki: Teriyaki 照り焼き Origins: a surprising turn from tradition.

Teppanyaki vs. Teriyaki: Nutrition

Teppanyaki vs teriyaki (4)

When comparing the nutrition of teriyaki and teppanyaki, teppanyaki will typically come out ahead.

Teppanyaki produces a grilled or broiled food which is a low-fat and heart-healthy alternative to fried food.

If the base oil is a healthy one, i.e. olive oil or soybean oil as opposed to animal fat, the food will not have any additives that make it fattening or unhealthy.

Teriyaki sauce, on the other hand, is usually high in sodium and it can also be high in sugar.

Therefore, it brings unhealthy additives to food that may not be desirable in every diet.

Now that you know the difference between teriyaki and teppanyaki, which will you be choosing for your dishes?

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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.