Yakiniku vs. Teriyaki: What is the Difference?
Yakiniku (焼肉) is one of the most popular dishes in Japan, together with ramen, and you can find barbeque restaurants serving it around the city because of its popularity.
While there are over 25,000 ramen shops in my country, the number of Yakiniku restaurants is about 20,000, according to the official site of the Statistics Bureau of Japan.
Although Yakiniku is widely enjoyed in Japan, as shown in the data, the dish is not well recognized overseas compared to ramen and sometimes seems confused with Teriyaki (照り焼き).
Yakiniku vs. Teriyaki
Therefore, this time, I will give an overview of each for those who want to find out how Yakiniku differs from Teriyaki.
First, we usually enjoy the Japanese grill Yakiniku indoors and call American-style outdoor BBQs just barbecue.
As the literal meaning of Yakiniku (焼肉) is grilling/grilled meat, its main ingredients are thinly sliced raw meats from various portions of beef and pork.
We cook the meat on a gridiron or griddle for ourselves (along with seafood and vegetables) and eat it typically with a thick, savory soy sauce-based dipping sauce called Yakiniku no Tare (焼肉のタレ).
The largest Japanese Yakiniku restaurant chain is Gyukaku (牛角), which has many locations in and outside Japan.
On the other hand, as I wrote in this article, Teriyaki is strictly not a dish but refers to a cooking method or technique used in Japanese cuisine.
In its name, Teri (照り) stands for a shine, while Yaki (焼き) is the word for grilling. In Teriyaki, while grilling, we dip or brush the meat in/with a sweet soy sauce-based sauce to give it a shine.
Unlike Yakiniku, typical ingredients for Japanese Teriyaki are chicken (breast or thigh) and fish,
such as Buri (ブリ: yellowtail), Kajiki Maguro (カジキマグロ: marlin), Katsuo (カツオ: skipjack tuna), Sake (鮭: salmon), Masu (鱒: trout), Sawara (サワラ: Japanese Spanish mackerel), or Hamo (ハモ: pike conger).
As Teriyaki is not a dish, I have never heard of a restaurant named Teriyaki Restaurant. Instead, Teishoku (定食: set menu meal) style restaurants typically offer Teriyaki dishes, such as Buri no Teriyaki (ブリの照り焼き).