Playing with your food

Months ago, I purchased a Groupon deal for Arirang Hibachi Steakhouse and it was nearing it’s expiration date. So on a windy Friday night, I finally used my coupon during dinner with the boyfriend and his parents. We decided to order three dinner sets to share along with some sushi rolls, since my coupon was valid for hibachi and the sushi bar. Each set dinner comes with hot green tea, soup, salad, and ice cream for dessert along with whichever meat you choose. Fried rice is a separate order, which we also got.

A typical Japanese hibachi is used as a heating device, not for cooking. In actuality, the way foods are cooked in Arirang is a teppanyaki cooking style, which uses gas-heated hotplates that are integrated into tables to cook. There are many people (often multiple parties) sitting at the table and eating together. The chef performs the cooking in front of the diners.

Our chef started off with putting oil on the hotplate. Then he put on mixed vegetables. He left some on his platter, which he cut up into tiny squares to pitch at each member of the table so they could try to catch it with their mouths. The boyfriend caught his piece of vegetable on his first try!

The chef then moved on to making a volcano fire out of a row of onions. He stacked the onions in a volcano shape and put oil inside the hole on the top. Fire swooshed up like a volcano. He then pulled out a little toy boy, which “peed” water when his pants are pulled down. He hosed down the fire while singing “Fire Burning” by Sean Kingston.

After he put out the fire, he then proceeded to put on a show with some eggs. He spun the eggs on his spatula and then threw it up into the air to catch it with his hat. After a brief show, he cracked the eggs onto the hotplate to start making the fried rice.

The white rice that is used for fried rice comes in big balls, since it is two bowls made into one. He assembled a Mickey Mouse with one flattened bowl of rice and two balls. The rice is then incorporated with the eggs along with some veggies to make fried rice. The chef used two spatulas to flip and mix all the ingredients on the hotplate. The end result was a heart shaped mound of fried rice that he then split into several portions for us to eat.

After the fried rice, our chef proceeded to cooking the seafood – shrimp and scallops, along with some mushrooms. The shrimps are placed on the hotplate with the tail. The chef then uses his sharp knife to cut off all the tails. Each of us are given an even portion of scallops and shrimp – both of which were very flavorful and had that smoky flavor that comes from the hotplate.

After the seafood, our Chef moved on to cooking our steaks. The steaks are placed onto the hotplate whole. But after some cooking, the chef cuts them into smaller squares so they can be tossed around. Our steaks were chewy but not too cooked. There was a slight pink hue on the inside without it being too red. The mixture of steak chunks and mushrooms was delicious and juicy!

Our chef ended the show there and cleaned the hotplate before leaving. We were left to finish the food that we had neglected in order to watch the show. After we finished eating, we were offered ice cream. I opted to go for the green tea ice cream because I am always a sucker for green tea flavored foods. 

The food is good but never anything spectacular. The main reason why I still go to Arirang is for the shows. I love Arirang for their dinner shows. They are always super fun to watch. The chefs sing and perform a variety of tricks with the food right in front of you. I recommend that you go with a large group, because then you can have the entire table to yourselves. Go for a birthday and order the special birthday cake treatment. I guarantee you will receive an experience you never could have imagined!

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