Sunday, June 22, 2008


I'm sitting in the patio section of a teriyaki house in Lacey, Washington called Happy Teriyaki 3. I don't know what happened to versions 1 and 2, but I'm assuming the third time's a charm. In the spirit of three-ness, I ordered three items: a pair of egg rolls, a "happy trio" teriyaki bowl, and a Coke.

The "happy trio" represents a threeness nestled within the larger threeness, though I'm a bit confused as to what the trio consists of. I had initially thought I would be receiving a trio of meats-- beef, chicken, and pork or seafood-- but the only meat in the bowl was chicken. Along with the chicken were two fried gyoza (Kor. mandu), fried rice, and some stir-fried vegetables, primarily cabbage and sliced carrots. So: chicken, rice, gyoza, veggies. What's the happy trio? I'll have to ask.

A quick and dirty demographic survey of the visible staff showed that this particular teriyaki joint does not appear to be run by and for Koreans. There is no Hangeul in evidence anywhere, and only one employee is obviously East Asian. So why the preponderance of teriyaki houses if not for the Koreans? Perhaps teriyaki is popular in the region for historical reasons, à la Snow Falling On Cedars. I think Paul may have addressed this issue in a comment to a previous post.

Right... time to finish off the Coke and lumber-waddle two blocks to the uni.



Alan said...

For what it's worth: teriyaki is MUCH more common in Japanese-style restaurants in the U.S. than it is in Japan. In three years in the country, I don't think I ever saw "chicken teriyaki" on a menu, and I'd bet money there are no restaurants in Japan billing themselves as Teriyaki Houses.

Anonymous said...

Haha, actually, you'd be surprised at the number of Asian (mostly Chinese and Japanese) restaurants that are owned/staffed by Koreans! Tea Leaf II (we like numbers in Lacey!), Koibito... and others I probably don't know about!