How to Plan a Hibachi Catering Menu for Kids

Planning a hibachi catering menu for kids can be a delightful yet challenging task. Hibachi, a Japanese style of cooking on a hot, flat grill, offers a fun, interactive dining experience that kids can enjoy. However, catering to children requires careful consideration of their tastes, dietary restrictions, and the overall dining experience. Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to create a kid-friendly hibachi catering menu that will make your event memorable and enjoyable for all the young guests.

Understanding Kids’ Preferences

When planning a hibachi menu for kids, it’s crucial to understand their food preferences. Most children prefer simple, familiar flavors over complex or spicy dishes. They also tend to enjoy foods that are visually appealing and easy to eat. Here are some key points to consider:

  • Familiar Ingredients: Incorporate ingredients that kids are familiar with, such as chicken, shrimp, beef, and vegetables like carrots, broccoli, and corn.
  • Mild Flavors: Use mild seasonings and avoid spicy sauces. Soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and a touch of garlic can add flavor without overwhelming young palates.
  • Interactive Elements: Kids love participating in the cooking process. Consider including interactive elements like letting them choose their ingredients or allowing them to help the chef with simple tasks.


Starting with appetizers can set the tone for the meal and keep the kids engaged while the main dishes are being prepared. Here are some kid-friendly hibachi appetizer ideas:

  • Edamame: Steamed edamame sprinkled with a little sea salt is a healthy and fun finger food.
  • Gyoza: These Japanese dumplings can be filled with chicken or vegetables and are usually a hit with kids.
  • Vegetable Tempura: Lightly battered and fried vegetables like sweet potatoes, zucchini, and carrots are both tasty and fun to eat.

Main Course Options

The main course is the highlight of any hibachi meal. Here are some suggestions that cater to kids’ tastes:

  • Chicken Teriyaki: Grilled chicken glazed with a sweet teriyaki sauce is a safe bet for most kids.
  • Shrimp and Vegetable Skewers: Shrimp and bite-sized vegetables on skewers make for a fun and easy-to-eat dish.
  • Hibachi Fried Rice: Rice stir-fried with a mix of vegetables, eggs, and a touch of soy sauce is a staple in hibachi cuisine and loved by kids.
  • Beef Strips: Thinly sliced beef, seasoned lightly and grilled to perfection, can be a hit, especially if served with a dipping sauce.

Side Dishes

Side dishes complement the main course and add variety to the meal. Consider these options:

  • Steamed Rice: Simple and familiar, steamed rice is a must-have.
  • Noodles: Hibachi-style noodles, stir-fried with vegetables and a light soy sauce, can be a favorite among kids.
  • Vegetable Stir-fry: A mix of colorful vegetables stir-fried with a mild sauce can add nutrition and appeal to the plate.

Sauces and Condiments

Having a variety of sauces and condiments can enhance the hibachi experience for kids. Make sure to offer options that are not too spicy or strong in flavor:

  • Yum Yum Sauce: This creamy, slightly sweet sauce is a favorite among kids and pairs well with almost everything.
  • Teriyaki Sauce: A sweet and tangy sauce that kids usually love.
  • Soy Sauce: A milder, low-sodium version can be offered for dipping.


No meal is complete without dessert. Here are some kid-friendly hibachi dessert options:

  • Mochi Ice Cream: These bite-sized balls of ice cream wrapped in a sweet, chewy rice dough come in various flavors and are a fun treat.
  • Fried Banana: Lightly battered and fried banana slices served with a drizzle of honey or chocolate sauce.
  • Fruit Skewers: Fresh fruit on skewers can be a refreshing and healthy way to end the meal.

Beverage Options

Offering a variety of beverages ensures that kids stay hydrated and enjoy their meal. Some suitable options include:

  • Fruit Juices: Apple, orange, and grape juice are always popular with kids.
  • Mocktails: Fun, non-alcoholic cocktails made with fruit juices and garnished with fresh fruit can add a festive touch.
  • Water: Always have plenty of water available to keep everyone hydrated.

Presentation and Fun Elements

Kids are more likely to enjoy their meal if it is presented in a fun and engaging way. Here are some tips to make the hibachi experience more enjoyable for children:

  • Colorful Plates: Use colorful plates and utensils to make the meal visually appealing.
  • Themed Decorations: Consider decorating the dining area with a Japanese theme, including paper lanterns, chopsticks, and kimono napkins.
  • Interactive Cooking: If possible, arrange for the hibachi chef to involve the kids in the cooking process. Simple tasks like flipping a piece of shrimp or helping to stir-fry vegetables can be a highlight for them.

Dietary Considerations

When planning a menu for kids, it’s important to consider dietary restrictions and allergies. Here are some tips to ensure that everyone can enjoy the meal:

  • Gluten-Free Options: Offer gluten-free soy sauce and rice-based dishes for kids with gluten intolerance.
  • Vegetarian Options: Include vegetarian dishes like vegetable stir-fry, tofu skewers, and vegetable tempura.
  • Allergy Awareness: Be mindful of common allergens like nuts, shellfish, and dairy. Communicate with parents beforehand to identify any specific allergies and make necessary adjustments.

Planning and Logistics

Proper planning is essential to ensure a smooth and enjoyable hibachi catering experience. Here are some logistical tips:

  • Guest Count: Confirm the number of kids attending to ensure you have enough food and seating arrangements.
  • Menu Selection: Provide a menu with a few options for parents to choose from in advance. This helps in accommodating preferences and dietary restrictions.
  • Chef’s Preparation: Inform the hibachi chef about the age group and preferences of the kids. This allows them to tailor their performance and cooking style accordingly.


Planning a hibachi catering menu for kids can be a rewarding experience with the right approach. By considering kids’ preferences, incorporating interactive elements, and offering a variety of familiar and appealing dishes, you can create a memorable and enjoyable hibachi experience for young guests. With careful planning and attention to detail, your hibachi event is sure to be a hit with the kids and their parents alike.

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