PHNOM PENH (Khmer Times) – Teppan means “iron” in Japanese and yaki refers to food that is grilled, broiled or pan fried. Think small bite-size bits that are very chopstick manageable.
Michael – a Filipino who trained in Dubai and now cooks here – was the chef for our lunch. This cleaver-wielding and carving-fork-waving star knows how to dazzle guests with his moves.
The diners – Cece, a writer, Billy, a photographer and me, an editor – were dizzy from trying to follow the routine. Want to give it a try? Pass.
Had I had a sneak preview of the menu I wouldn’t have bothered to eat for a couple of days.
The feast started with seaweed salad, followed by black-seared tuna done with sea salt, tataki style, and served with pozu sauce ($16).
That was followed by soft-shelled crab tempura with asparagus and sweet soy and spicy mayo dipping sauce ($12). Next was the rock and roll maki – salmon, tuna, fresh water eel, crab with a stick a cucumber ($15) and sashimi moriawase – slices of raw tuna, salmon, yellowtail and octopus.
By about this point I was starting to get full. Then, Michael and his magic implements swung into action for the teppanayaki lunch set, and the food preparation began in earnest.
First up to be diced and sliced was the Australian venison and chicken set that included tofu steak and prawns ($33). I figured that was it. Wrong. Out came the Australian tenderloin with cod fish and mushrooms ($55).
That was followed by the Kurobuta set of pork belly ($45). By then I was seriously wishing I had worn expandable trousers – as I used to when I lived in China and attended state banquets. Then the creme de la creme appeared– wagyu beef ($78).
This is a beef that is pampered, petted, and massaged while classical music is piped in to keep the animals calm. The end result is that the meat has a marbled effect and literally melts in your mouth. It is a major delicacy and the best wagyu stays in Japan for the local market. But the grade four can be imported at about $90 a kilo.
There was also miso soup, an egg that started as a heart and was mixed with salmon, rice and vegetables. Food, food, food everywhere.
Adjectives that readily spring to mind include: delightful, decadent, delicious.
It is the sort of meal that you have to slide into and enjoy for the sake of experiencing both the performance and the taste treats.
Plan on going with a group of friends. There are four VIP rooms that seat eight people. Reservations are a must for the dinner theater, although you might be able to slip in for lunch between 11:00 to 15:00.
Order on the light side as the portions are large and the food just keeps coming. If you are still hungry there are a la carte offerings such as tiger prawns ($6) or scallops ($8).
Go to The Teppanyaki – one of the 12 restaurants at NagaWorld– for an occasion.
The Teppanyaki, Level 1, NagaWorld Entrance on Samdech Hun Sen
Open for lunch daily, from 11:00 to 15:00 and for dinner from 18:00 to 22:30
Reservation 023-22-8822 ext 6580