Shabu-shabu is a cuisine which sliced meat and vegetables are slightly boiled in a pot. People use chopsticks to pick up the meat and dip it in hot water. When the meat turns light brown, after dipping it in hot water about five seconds, it is the right time to eat.
The main ingredient is beef, but sometimes pork, chicken, and seafoods are used too. When beef is used, it’s called “gyu-shabu,” “gyu” meaning beaf. When pork is used, it’s called “buta-shabu,” “buta” meaning pork. The vegetables basically used are green onion, Chinese cabbage, mushrooms, and Japanese white radish. Tofu is also popular to put in the pot.
There are different kinds of source to dip the boiled meat. The basics are creamy sesame source, and source made from soy source and citrus juice.
The roots of shabu-shabu goes back to China, where people ate mutton meat boiled in a pot. It used to be a royal court cuisine until the early 1900’s, however Japanese army surgeon who went to China for World War II (1939-1945) introduced it to Japan. In Japan, shabu-shabu first became popular in Kyoto. Shabu-shabu was named in Osaka from the sound of meat stirring in hot water.
The shape of the pot used is unique, which is a doughnuts shaped pot with funnel in the middle. The pot has a hole in the middle, so the surface area is small and the water does not evaporate that much. It also makes the temperature of the water stable.
Shabu-shabu is not only ate while it’s hot, but also “rei-shabu,” which means cold shabu-shabu, is popular to eat during the summer. People often put “rei-shabu” on salad, and it tastes really good.