What Is Vegan At Hibachi Restaurants? (Updated Guide)

Hibachi restaurants serve a wide range of Japanese-style dishes. Vegan options in Hibachi restaurants are unfortunately limited, but don’t be discouraged; there are still some options you might be able to enjoy.

Vegans may find it extremely difficult to dine out as many Asian restaurants, including Japanese, tend to use a lot of meat and dairy in their dishes.

However, with a little bit of effort, it’s still possible to find some vegan options. 

Do Hibachi Restaurants Have Vegan Options?

Certain Hibachi restaurant options are entirely vegan, especially if you consider a lot of the ingredients they use such as mushrooms, grains, sesame seeds, soy, and other vegan-friendly ingredients.

True, the menu choices are limited, and the list is not as extensive as those offered to non-vegans. However, if you know what you’re looking for, you may find full satisfaction! Here are a few examples:

  • Vegan Tofu Stir Fry Noodles

Vegan Tofu Stir Fry Noodles

This is a wonderful blend of soft and sharp textures. Vegetables combined with Kobe spaghetti with non-dairy butter, ginger, and soy sauce make up the Vegan Tofu Stir Fry Noodles.

Hibachi restaurants serve tofu stir fry noodles with miso soup, but you can skip that as it’s usually not vegan. A side of greens can be served to vegans. 

  • Gluten-Free Fried Rice

Hibachi

Next is the Gluten-Free Fried Rice. Nondairy butter, peas, broccoli crowns and stems, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce are combined with seasonal vegetables and rice.

If you’re vegan you can rest assured that this gluten-free Japanese fried rice is free from animal ingredients. This dish is also frequently served with creamy miso soup and crisp vegetable salads, but of course, opt for the salad. 

  • Sesame Seaweed Salad

Sesame Seaweed Salad

The main ingredient in this last dish is seaweed, which is a great source of omega-3s in addition to being deliciously crispy.

Fresh seaweed, sesame seeds, rice vinegar, lemon, red pepper flakes, onions, garlic, and cucumbers are among the ingredients in the Japanese sesame seaweed salad.

It’s colorful, nutritious, and could definitely work as a side dish to stir-fried tofu.

Before You Go To A Hibachi Restaurant

There are a few things you should keep in mind when visiting Hibachi restaurants.

  • The Meaning Behind Hibachi

Hibachi is a catch-all term for all Japanese grilled foods.

Hibachi, a now-common term, is especially popular among those who enjoy Japanese cuisine and prefer to eat in their own homes.

However, most Japanese grilled dish fans are completely unaware that the term “hibachi” is frequently misused.

Hibachi means “fire bowl” in Japanese. Hibachi is similar to roasting or grilling meat, but it uses a unique method of preparation.

Hibachi cuisine is also much spicier than traditional western grilled food due to the use of specific Japanese ingredients and the use of charcoal.

Aside from the delectable Japanese cuisine, Hibachi restaurants are also known for their entertaining grilling demonstrations. Their chefs will prepare your meal right at your table, and you will be able to watch them work on the kitchen countertop.

These chefs are highly skilled professionals. Furthermore, they have years of experience in this field, so they have learned exactly how to entertain their guests.

  • Hibachi Restaurants Are Big On Fish

Because Japan is made up of many islands in the Pacific region, seafood is an important part of their cuisine. Many of the flavorings are inevitable because they are derived from fresh fish.

For that reason, it’s critical for vegans like us to ensure that the meals do not contain any seafood-based sauces. You can either ask the manager about the sauces or look them up online.

Here is a list of fish-based sauces that you should avoid when ordering a meal:

  • Dashi shoyu / Tsuyu

It’s a non-vegan, fish-flavored sauce that’s used to season soba noodles, somen noodles, and miso soups. It’s typically made from dried mackerel, dried tuna, and kombu (seaweed).

  • Eel sauce / Natsume

Natsume (or eel sauce) is made with eel soup, mirin, oyster sauce, and glucose.

  • Shottsuru Nabe And Ishiri Kaiyaki

These are recipes made with sea ingredients. Shottsuru Nabe is simply a heated fish stew, whereas Ishiri Kaiyaki is a savory scallop sauce.

  • The Food Is All Cooked In The Same Grill

Hibachi cooking entails cooking in front of guests on a single grill, which means the rice is cooked on the same platform as the eggs, fish, and other non-vegan ingredients.

Here is a video of a Hibachi chef handling eggs, rice, and vegetables:

To avoid this, you could inform them of your food preferences, and they might be able to clean the grill before cooking your food.

Other Vegan Ingredients You May Be Able To Find In a Hibachi Restaurant

When choosing a meal at a Hibachi restaurant, it is generally a good idea to look at the ingredients. Furthermore, it is inconvenient to order meals only to receive something undesirable or contrary to your vegan diet.

Before you ever enter a Hibachi restaurant, it’s probably a good idea to search for the restaurant’s menu online. Or if that’s too time-consuming, you’re better off contacting the management and requesting vegan options.

As a foodie, knowing the basic ingredients and their names can also help you develop some awareness.

You won’t have to do extensive research every time you go to a restaurant that might more or less serve the same food as you’ll be more familiar with the type of ingredients that might be vegan. 

Here are two ingredients you might not know are vegan at a Hibachi restaurant: 

  • Furikake Spice Blend

Furikake Spice Blend is a vegan condiment that is commonly used in Hibachi cuisine.

Its ingredients include white and black sesame seeds as well as dry seaweed.

None of the ingredients negatively affect animal lives, so there is no need to be concerned when ordering it. 

  • Teriyaki Sauce

Teriyaki sauces are widely used in Japanese cuisine and can be found in a variety of dishes.

Soybeans, fermented rice or mirin, sweetener, and ginger are the four main ingredients. In vegan dishes, it is primarily used to marinate vegetables and tofu.

  • Edamame

Edamame in pods is a popular appetizer at most Japanese restaurants.

What Is The Difference Between Hibachi and Teppanyaki?

teppanyaki

“Teppanyaki”, which means “grilled across an ironing board” in Japanese, is a distinct Japanese cooking method that is sometimes confused with the Hibachi method.

Like the Hibachi method, this cooking method also involves preparing the food in front of guests for entertainment purposes. 

Teppanyaki masters show off their ability by grilling chicken, pig, steak, and saltwater shellfish on teppanyaki burners, a grilling device that may also be used to serve diced eggs, vegetables, and rice.

Conclusion

Hibachi restaurants are not an exception to the Japanese food culture’s heavy reliance on fish and other seafood delicacies. However, because vegetables are equally important in Hibachi cuisine, you can still find some options, albeit limited. 

Veganism has had a worldwide impact on the various food industries, and I don’t think that Asian cuisine will be indifferent to it, so over time, it’s possible that you may see more and more vegan options popping up, even in Hibachi restaurants where the whole concept is built around fish and seafood.

Hey there! My name is Alex and I've been vegan for over five years! I've set up this blog because I'm passionate about veganism and living a more spiritually fulfilling life where I'm more in tune with nature. Hopefully, I can use Vegan Foundry as a channel to help you out on your own journey!