The Mongolians were pastoral nomads from northeast Asia. They developed from this lifestyle a unique culinary culture featuring roasting and grilling lamb. Signature Mongolian delicacies include roasted whole lamb and lamb kebabs. The most famous among them, the “Genghis Khan’s Dish”, was invented by Genghis Khan himself.

Legend has it that the idea came to him when he saw meat being over-cooked over the campfire. To avoid this nuisance, he grabbed a soldier’s steel helmet and grilled meat on it instead - a clever move that prevented meat from coming in direct contact with fire. This became the primitive form of what has come to be known as teppanyaki today.

The expansion of the Mongolian Empire helped boost the popularity of the new cooking method, which eventually evolved into a cuisine of its own and spread to the greater part of Eurasia. However, the hype of the primitive teppanyaki quickly faded at home after the fall of the empire, or the Yuan Dynasty.

But Genghis Khan’s innovative culinary art left its trace elsewhere in the world. Most notably, it found its place in Sapporo, Japan. Recorded history documented similar style of cooking in eateries, where patrons grilled meat on top of helmet-like pots over burning coal, then mixed the cooked meat with other ingredients and seasonings using chopsticks. Later variations also include the Korean barbeque, where instead of on a hot steel plate, meat is grilled on top of a steel rack. But it was the Japanese who eventually infused the cooking style into its culture and coined the term ‘teppanyaki’

Modern teppanyaki has evolved into a stir-fry based cook-and-dine with the teppan surrounded by elegant tabletop, around which patrons are seated communally so they can easily socialize as the chef prepares their meals right in front of them. Teppanyaki continues to evolve and gain popularity, adapting to local taste and preferences.