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What is toban yaki? History & the ceramic plates used

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  July 31, 2022

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If you’re looking to explore exotic foods, then toban yaki is a must-try.

Toban yaki doesn’t refer to an actual dish though. Rather, it’s a style of cooking that makes food absolutely delicious.

Read on to find out more about toban yaki (or Japanese grilled food), what it is, and how its flavorings work to set a meal apart!

Toban yaki dish grilled on a ceramic plate

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What is toban yaki?

Toban-yaki is the Japanese term for roast on a ceramic plate”. Ceramic plates emit heat for a long time after they’re removed from heat sources and have a unique heat radiation effect. Therefore, they’re ideal for roasting ingredients! Foods come out evenly heated and stay hot for a long time.

The style of cooking can be used to prepare any variety of ingredients, but these are commonly featured:

  • Beef
  • Shrimp
  • Scallops
  • Lobster
  • Chicken
  • Vegetables

Soybean oil is usually used for cooking the ingredients.

Japanese cuisine may also include yakisoba noodles in the dish. Cabbage with sliced meat or seafood cooked in vegetable or animal fat may also be included, and Kobe beef is often used as the meat.

Common side dishes for the meal include mung beans, sprouts, zucchini, garlic chips, or fried rice.

A dip is usually served for the meats. In Japan, this dip is usually soy sauce-based.

History of toban yaki

Toban yaki is closely related to teppanyaki, only teppanyaki dishes are cooked on a griddle or a metal plate while toban yaki uses ceramic.

The dishes date back to post-World War II, and both are served at teppanyaki-style steakhouses.

The original steakhouse is believed to be Misono. The restaurant claims to be the first to use a teppan (the metal grill used to cook teppanyaki) back in 1945.

The method of cooking really caught on with tourists who’d flock to these restaurants to see chefs preparing the food on dining tables.

They enjoyed watching the cooks cutting meat and vegetables at lightning speed and delighted in performance aspects such as the stacking of onion slices to produce a flaming onion volcano.

Today, Americans still delight in watching Asian chefs perform entertaining tricks while preparing food. Perhaps the most popular of all chains that keep up with this tradition is the Benihana chain.

Although Benihana prepares its dishes teppanyaki style, many people call this type of cooking hibachi. This is because Benihana prepares a hibachi steak.

However, there’s a difference between teppanyaki, toban yaki, and hibachi.

Hibachi dishes are prepared with soy sauce only, whereas teppanyaki and toban yaki cooking use a sweeter, seasoned soy sauce-based sauce.

Toban yaki is often made with beef. However, there are several variations. Here are some you may want to try:

  • Beef toban yaki
  • Salmon toban yaki
  • Mushroom toban yaki
  • Seafood toban yaki: This can include exotic seafood such as black tiger shrimp, green shell mussels, and scallops
  • Wagyu: This is Wagyu beef served medium rare with Japanese mushrooms and a toban yaki sauce
  • Tofu steak toban yaki: To keep the vegetarians happy!
  • Chicken toban yaki
  • Prime filet toban yaki
  • Fruit toban yaki: This includes a variety of fruits such as bananas, blueberries, cherries, mangoes, melons, papayas, and strawberries

Try a new grilling style with toban yaki

Toban yaki is a great way to prepare a meal. With so many varieties to choose from, the sky’s the limit when it comes to a delicious and satisfying dish!

Which will you be preparing in your kitchen?

Also read: we’ve reviewed ceramic plates for toban yaki and these came out on top

Check out our new cookbook

Bitemybun's family recipes with complete meal planner and recipe guide.

Try it out for free with Kindle Unlimited:

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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.