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Talkback! Why Hibachi is Complicated (Pt. 2)

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Mar 18, 2019

After 9+ years of being a podcast, we're trying something new: a talkback, all about last week’s episode on hibachi. You sent in questions and reactions, and this week we're discussing them.

If you need a refresher: the hibachi restaurant was created in 1964 by a savvy showman and Japanese immigrant named Rocky Aoki. A big part of his success was the idea that, quote, “Americans enjoy eating in exotic surroundings, but are deeply mistrustful of exotic foods.” So he combined Japanese decorations with steak, chicken and shrimp, added a heavy dose of showmanship, and hibachi was born.

Last week, we talked hibachi and why it's complicated. We saw the skill involved in being a great hibachi chef, and looked at what happens when the performance veers into racial stereotypes. Today, we talk communal eating, orientalism, finding "authentic" foods, and more with food writers and cookbook authors Kenji López-Alt and Nicole Taylor.

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Nicole also dishes on her upcoming cookbook, The Last O.G. Cookbook: How to Get Mad Culinary Skills, and Kenji updates us on his restaurant Wursthall in San Mateo, CA.

Today's sponsors:

Interstitial music in this episode by Black Label Music:

- "Clean" by J.T. Bates

- "Feel Real Good" by William Van De Crommert

- "Hot Night" by Calvin Dashielle

- "Playground Panic" by Kenneth J. Brahmstedt

- "Rooftop Instrumental" by Erick Anderson

Photos: Courtesy of Kenji Lopez-Alt and Nicole Taylor.

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