Shabu Shabu >>Find Shabu-Shabu, Sukiyaki Restaurants
What is Shabu Shabu?Shabu Shabu is a family affair. It starts with a pot filled with boiling soup made from wakame, or sea kelp. Thinly sliced meat and vegetables are prepared. Then, people all sit around the bubbling pot and cook their meat by dipping it in the soup with their chopsticks, swishing back and both. Dipping meat and vegetables in salty shabu shabu sauce is the final step before eating.
Beef is the most prevalent shabu shabu ingredient, although pork and seafood are also served. The name of the meat is combined with the word "shabu shabu" to differentiate: gyu shabu (beef), buta shabu(pork), etc.
Japanese people both shabu shabu and sukiyaki, not only for their simplicity,
but also for their healthiness. Dipping beef into boiling soup substantially cuts down fat content, making it appealing to a wide audience.
Since many people can share one shabu shabu pot, the dish is great for parties and other social occasions. Young people in Japan throw "nabe (cooking pot) parties" for their friends.
How to enjoy shabu shabu
First Round: Meat and Vegetables1.When the soup is boiled and ready, swish a thin sliced piece of meat a few times. Beef and seafood can be served eaten rare, but pork needs to be well heated. Some say that you should swish your meat only twice, with the rhythm of “Shabu”(one time or right, or forth) “Shabu”(second time or left, or back). If that doesn't sound like long enough, you can always cook your meat longer, but, just like a high-quality steak, shabu shabu beef has lots of flavor when it is only ligthly cooked.
2.Dip the meat into the sauce. Generally, sesame or soy flavored sauce is used. Add relishes and spices to your preferences, which are usually served on the side.
3.When the flavor of meat has been added to the soup, start boiling vegetables, and keep track of how long they've been cooking. Add tofu gently. It is ready to eat when it floats to the surface. Mushrooms taste better when you cook them a little longer. Yuba tofu is ready when it becomes transparent. Bean-starch noodles are ready in just 10 seconds.
4.After a while, cloudy bubbles flow on the surface. They are produced by protein from the meat. Use a strainer spoon to skim this off of the surface and protect the shabu shabu's flavor. Keep your soup pot clean - you only get one.
5.In case you run out of soup, ask the server for more hot water.
Cooking your vegetables last exposes them to inosinic acid from the meat and amino acids from the kelp soup. This combination well helps cook the vegetables better.
Second Round: Tamago OjiyaIf you still have room after shabu shabu, try tamago ojiya, or egg rice soup.
1.First, clear all ingredients out of the shabu shabu pot. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
2.When the soup is boiled, pour in rice and make sure to thoroughly separate every grain. Add soy sauce, salt, and pepper to adjust the taste.
3.When the soup is boiled again, stir in a raw egg and stir.
4.When the egg is hardened, the tamago ojiya is ready. Serve in bowls nd enjoy.
If that's too complicated, just ask your server to cook it.
*Menu differs according to the restaurants. Some have noodles, and some don’t have Ojiya. Ask the staff in the restaurants.
The Origin of Shabu ShabuLong ago, in north eastern China, ram meat that was hung under the eaves got frozen in a cold winter night.
A hungry villager had to slice the meat into very thing pieces. He boiled it, dipped it in sauce and told his friends how good it tasted. This is said to be the beginning of shabu shabu.
Later on, in 1950’s, shabu shabu spread through Japan. The name "shabu shabu" comes from the act of swishing the meat. Shabu shabu is roughly translated to “swish swish”.
Suehiro restaurant was the first to call it "shabu shabu" in 1952. They trademarked the term in 1955.
Of musical fame? Or a famous dish?If you say "sukiyaki," which comes to mind first: the Japanese meat dish or the song that hit number one on American music charts despite its Japanese origins? "Sukiyaki" as a song is the American cover of the original Japanese "Ue wo Muite Arukou" (translated, "Walking while looking up"). While the lyrics of the song have absolutely no connection with sukiyaki, the story goes that the record company's president remembered eating sukiyaki while in Japan, and, thinking it easier to remember than the original title, decided to rename the cover "Sukiyaki." In a way it's true, though; the taste of sukiyaki is that hard to forget!
So what is Sukiyaki?Sukiyaki is a dish made with a salty-sweet sugar and soy-sauce base. To the pan of sauce, beef, onions, chrysanthemum, shiitake mushrooms, tofu, and other ingredients are added to cook. Then the sukiyaki is served with a small dish of raw egg, thoroughly beaten with chopsticks until it is a uniform, bright yellow color. Take the beef, onions, etc with your chopsticks and dip it into the raw egg, then eat.
The first challenge of the raw egg:In terms of the "challenging the uncooked egg," haven't you been told by your mother since you were little not to eat eggs raw? So, just like me, you've probably studiously avoided eating raw eggs. Who wants salmonella? Not me!
But just like with other Japanese foods, there isn't really anything to worry about with the raw egg in sukiyaki, because while in Japan, eating raw eggs is taken as a matter of course, so a number of measures are taken to ensure their safety for consumption that aren't taken in other places. The hens that lay the eggs are more carefully fed and inspected than in the United States to minimize the possibility of disease spreading from the chicken to the egg or other chickens; during transport, eggs are maintained at a temperature between 1 and 10 degrees Celsius, which is ideal for preventing bacteria from reproducing; in addition to these general measures, the eggs themselves are also carefully inspected individually - each egg has its own expiration date, rather than having each carton of eggs have an average expiration date - which guarantees eggs are fresher when delivered for sale at stores and so they are still safe to eat raw by the time they make it to your table. Besides, you've probably eaten raw cookie dough sometime, even though the dough has raw eggs in it. Eating raw egg in sukiyaki is just as safe - even safer, actually - as eating that spoonful of cookie dough instead of baking it!
Incidentally, a lot of foreigners we know have been really taken in by the flavor of uncooked eggs and, once they got over the idea of eating eggs raw, actually came to like it a lot.
But the price of sukiyaki...!Sukiyaki, by virtue of being a dish that uses a lot of beef, has a reputation of being quite expensive. This isn't entirely true - there is affordable sukiyaki - but compared to other similar dishes that do not use beef, it does cost more. Though only a rough estimate, ordering sukiyaki for one can cost over 7000 yen. For those who want to try sukiyaki made with Japanese beef, the estimated price can go even higher. Despite this, sukiyaki made with Japanese beef is of the highest quality and is truly unspeakably delicious, so I wouldn't want to discourage you from trying it at least once while in Japan.
For those who would prefer to sacrifice flavor in order to keep a better eye on their budget, however, all hope is not lost! There are restaurants which specialize in providing affordable sukiyaki as well. How about giving On Yasai a go? On Yasai is one of the most popular shabu-shabu and sukiyaki restaurants around and there you can get a veritable feast of sukiyaki: only 3,000 yen for one.
The perfect side dish of sukiyaki: rice or…?Rather than rice, udon noodles actually go quite well with sukiyaki. After eating your fill of the meat and vegetables in the pot, just put udon noodles in with the sauce left in the bottom. Let it simmer for a while so the noodles can soak up all the flavor left in the sauce by the meat and vegetables that had been cooking in it, and then you can eat the noodles too. In fact, this is the way Tokyo-ites prefer to eat sukiyaki. Though if you're the sort who really likes rice with a meal, then by all means, eat rice - every region of Japan has a different way to enjoy this delicious dish so eating rice with sukiyaki is fine too.
Sukiyaki HistorySukiyaki is held up as an exemplar of Japanese cuisine, but in actual fact, sukiyaki has a surprisingly short history, only coming into existence towards the tail end of the Edo period. For one thing, it's important to remember that until the Meiji Period, eating beef in Japan was uncommon at best. One Buddhist precept even states, "The cow is an important source of labor, so eating the flesh of cows is damnable," so by common thinking of the time, ‘beef' did not really qualify as ‘food.'
In 1859, however, after the port of Yokohama was opened and the number of foreign residents in the city (and Japan) swelled, so too did the demand for beef to be used in cooking. The face of this foreign influence, little by little, Japanese also began to eat beef. Then, in the Meiji Era, the cultural prohibitions against eating beef were lifted from the general populace when the Meiji Emperor himself started eating beef, and sukiyaki quickly gained in popularity.
So even though sukiyaki is lined up with sushi and tempura and cited as iconic examples of traditional Japanese cuisine, it's not really a stretch to say that sukiyaki is actually a dish that Japan received from the world beyond her shores.
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