Get a taste of the Olympics at East Texas Japanese-inspired restaurants

Local News

TYLER, Texas (KETK) – Team USA is going for the gold in Tokyo, Japan for the next two weeks. While they are there, they may get the chance to indulge in some delicious Japanese cuisine. To cheer on our Olympic team, we can enjoy a few Japanese-inspired dishes in East Texas by going to a hibachi restaurant. 

The “hibachi” originated in Japan and dates back to the Heian Period between 794 and 1184 AD. The literal translation of the word means “fire bowl” which is accurate to the flame show one can experience at these restaurants. 

While at a hibachi grill, customers can sit with family and friends and watch a trained teppanyaki chef whip up Japanese- inspired eats. These usually include a dish with rice as the food culture in Japan is heavily rice-centered. A popular spot in Tyler says the experience at their restaurant is what makes the meal so popular.

“I think it’s like the show and the ambiance. Because, really you get like a lot of people together. It’s fun for the kids, it’s fun to bring the family out, everyone comes. They’re laughing, they’re making jokes with the chef, you know getting the shrimp tossed in your mouth. People really like the big show and like the ambiance of coming out. It’s more like fun and entertainment than just, you know, sitting and eating.”     

Dalton Wasinger, General Manager at Kawas Hibachi in Tyler

Japan’s most famous contribution to global food culture is sushi. The food is generally eaten at restaurants where customers sit at the counter and call out their orders item by item to a sushi chef.  

In the spirit of the summer games, KETK’S Corrine Benandi visited Kawa’s Hibachi Grill and Lounge to perfect her cooking skills. Sushi Chef Anthony taught her how to make a traditional California roll using crab meat, avocado, rice, and cucumber. 

She also learned how to grill on the hibachi with teppanyaki chef David. Together they made fried rice with steak, chicken, shrimp, and vegetables with all of the traditional sauces.  

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