Both salty and sweet, sukiyaki is a warming hot pot dish in Japan, flavored with thinly sliced beef and an intense broth of sugar, soy sauce, and mirin (sweetened cooking sake). Regarded as a classic Japanese dish since the Meiji Period, sukiyaki is usually cooked in a shallow cast-iron pot. Typically in the Kansai and Osaka region, some of the meat is eaten before it’s added to the pot, seared with that delicious sugary soy sauce seasoning. The Kansai or Tokyo style, however, uses these ingredients to make a sukiyaki sauce called warishita, in which everything is simmered together simultaneously. Like typical nabemono (hot pots), making sukiyaki is a communal event that’s best shared with family and friends, enjoying each other's company as the ingredients cook at the table over a stand-alone burner.
Developing the flavors of the broth as they stew, vegetables, noodles, and plump tofu pieces bubble away, resulting in a soup that’s bold and flavorful, infusing sukiyaki’s signature sweetness. Best when cooked with marbled slices of premium wagyu beef (ultra-luxurious when Kobe beef is involved), raw egg is traditionally used as a dipping sauce, coating ingredients with a layer of creaminess. While it’s a popular dish for year-end parties (bonenkai) and perfect during the cold winter months, sukiyaki is delicious all throughout the year for its sweet, tempting soup. Check out our hot pot experiences to spend an afternoon learning how to make sukiyaki at a cooking class in Tokyo or enjoy up-scale dining, eating sukiyaki Osaka-style.