Overflowing with flavor, shabu shabu is a typical “nabemono” (hot pot dish) in Japan, where a range of ingredients are simmered in a communal pot of soup. Lovingly named after the sound of swishing thinly sliced meat through the bubbling broth, the onomatopoeic term “shabu shabu” was coined in Osaka. A fun dining affair full of meat strips, vegetables, tofu, and noodles, shabu shabu was developed under the influence of Chinese hot pots, but the name is trademarked by the original concept restaurant, Suehiro, which opened in the late 1950s. Ingredients for a shabu shabu are brought to the table raw and are added to the boiling pot throughout the meal, so you can cook as you go.
A typical shabu shabu broth is made from dashi soup stock and kombu (kelp), a basic starting point of flavor to develop as the pot ingredients brew. Paper-thin strips of meat and fresh vegetables, cabbage, seaweed, mushrooms, udon, anything can be added to a tasty shabu shabu. Some restaurants offer pots with dividers for different broths, and new-age flavors like kimchi or tomato have now become the norm. A great group dinner, specialty restaurants sit wide pots on portable burners or have gas stove tops set on tables. Check out our hot pot experiences to enjoy a warming meal of shabu shabu during a home cooking class, or book an upscale feast of hot, fresh, soupy goodness.