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Shabu Shabu Restaurants are a Fresh Serve on Traditional Japanese Cuisine

Updated on May 17, 2012
Japanese Restaurant in Irvine
Japanese Restaurant in Irvine

The other Japanese Cuisine

Many people are familiar with Japanese cuisine such as sushi, sashimi and tempura. However Shabu-shabu, a Japanese style hot pot, is not as widely known in the restaurant business. If you have not tried Japanese Shabu-shabu then you should invest in this new experience with some familiar food.

What is Shabu-shabu?

Named after the swish sound made while cooking your food, Shabu-shabu means just that “swish swish”. The dish consists of meat which is sliced very thin, served with dipping sauce and vegetables. With a boiling pot of water in front each customer, you are required to cook your own food by swishing it around in the water. Once cooked you eat some or all of your meat and vegetables with rice, leaving some for soup after. At the end of your meal the broth created from cooking down your water used for cooking the meat and vegetables can be turned into soup.

Recommendations While Dining at a Shabu Shabu Restaurant

  • Try the ponzu sauce. Ponzu is delicious and part of the Shabu-Shabu experience. Every ponzu is different so it is good to try them at every restaurant you visit.
  • Use the hot drops at least on a side sauce. The hot drops can change the flavor of your food throughout the experience even if you only use a little on a sauce which you keep on the side.
  • Drink a beer with your meal, but to each their own. I recommend having a glass of your favorite alcoholic beverage with your Shabu-shabu. That is if you are of the legal drinking age.

Do Shabu Shabu at Home

If you are looking to do shabu shabu at home you could always buy an induction stove, a shallow shabu pot and some ponzu, goma (sesame seed) sauce or both. Just as important as the right pot shape and size is the sauces, they are what give everything flavor. Without the right sauces you will just have bland soup made with high quality ingredients.

A Tradition You Should Join

Although dining at a Shabu-shabu restaurant is a tradition for most Japanese families it may not be an experience you have enjoyed yet. This does not mean you should not join in on the tradition and find a Shabu shabu restaurant near you who serves these thinly sliced meats and delicious sauce. You can invite your friends and family to have a meal which they can interact with and personalize. It could just be a new tradition for you.


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