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HibachiMania: Five Spots That Show How L.A. Has Made Japan’s Art of Grilling Its Own

3:25 PM PDT on August 9, 2022

    We might have to consider Los Angeles as the new official home to hibachi. In the past couple of years, an increase of these Japanese-inspired food trucks, restaurants, and pop-ups has emerged in the streets of L.A. 

    Most people may be familiar with Benihana, the famous hibachi restaurant in the Japanese style that opened in 1964 and features chefs who perform shows while grilling meats on a teppanyaki (steel griddle), but hibachi goes back more than a thousand years to Japan’s Heian period (794 to 1185). 

    Among the iconic food gimmicks at Benihana are onion volcanos and pulsing heart-shaped fried rice. Compared to their sit-down counterparts, hibachi trucks don't have as much flair, but they bring some of that OG dining experience to the streets. Here are some L.A. TACO-approved spots to get a taste of this recent food trend in Los Angeles. 

     

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    Bachi Bus

    1200 S Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, CA 90015. Closest Metro lines and stop: Metro A or E Lines - "Pico Station" or Bus Lines 30, 81, 460 or Metro J Line 910/950 - “Figueroa/Pico.”

    In DTLA, BachiBus runs out of a bright yellow truck that is decorated with vibrant cartoon characters. HibachiBus plates are available in three different protein combos. The Black and Latino-owned business pride themselves on their uniqueness from their eight different sauces on the menu that includes diablo “hotdrop” to their name resembling the children's cartoon, “The Magic Schoolbus.”

     

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    BeHibachi 

    200 E. Ocean Blvd Long Beach, CA 90802. Closest Metro lines and stop: Metro A Line or Bus Line 232 - “Downtown Long Beach Station.”

    BeHibachi has trucks that span from DTLA to Fresno. The menu combines seven proteins, such as lobster, scallops, and New York steak. White rice and vegetables are served on plates. Fried rice and condiments, such as garlic butter and a fiery diablo sauce, are offered. 

     

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    Hibachi L.A. 

    900 Avila St Los Angeles, CA 90012. Closest Metro lines and stop: Metro A, B, D, J (910/950) Lines or Bus Lines 28, 33, 40, 70, 76, 78, 106 or 487 - "Union Station."

    Outside of a bail bond shop and across the street from Union Station, Hibachi L.A. stays put every day. If you have ever been to Union station then you know how chaotic the scene is, especially when eating out late at night, around 10 pm. Still, the best part about Hibachi L.A. has to be the balance in their cooking. From the choice of protein not being overcooked to the steamed vegetables not being over-seasoned, Hibachi L.A. knows what they are doing. 

     

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    Booler Eats 

    2471 Whittier Blvd Los Angeles CA 90023. Closest Metro lines and stop: Bus Lines 18 or 251 - “Whittier/Soto.”

    (Only open on Thursdays: 6:00 PM to 2:00 AM)

    A late-night craving can be satisfied outside the Holiday Bar complex near the newly opened 6th street bridge. Booler Eats is probably the newest hibachi spot in town, but it won’t be the last. As many of us know, some of the best foods are made outside a bar or random corner in L.A. The fried rice tends to be pretty good, to begin with, especially when paired with shrimp that is long-marinated with garlic. 

     

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    Mexihanas 

    1782 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90813. Closest Metro line and stop: Metro A Line - “Pacific Coast Highway Station.”

    2222 Palo Verde Avenue, Long Beach, CA, 90815

    Mexihanas has been so successful since their first brick n’ mortar opened in 2020 on the northeast end of Long Beach that owner Martin Luzanilla opened another one on the other part of town. What makes his Mexican-inspired take on hibachi special is using proteins like tuna steaks and Mexihanas’ garlic noodles, not to mention that he also offers plates that are large enough to feed two to three people.  

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