High-quality Japanese-style restaurants generally serve branded Wagyu beef, but in fact we can enjoy shabu shabu with any type of meat. Pork loin or sliced pork ribs, lamb, or even chicken are possible. However, beef and pork would be the most common. It is important to use high-quality artisanal beef (available from Crowd Cow) and a cut that can be cut into thin slices.
The rib steaks, the top of the sirloin and the tip of the sirloin are excellent cuts for Shabu Shabu. Beef and pork are the most commonly used meats in shabu-shabu, but chicken and lamb can also be used. If you dine at a shabu shabu restaurant, the restaurant staff will help you start by cooking some ingredients first. Most commonly, meat (beef, pork or chicken) is used for shabu-shabu, but recently there have also been increasing variations with vegetables or fish.
The dish is prepared by dipping a thin slice of meat or a piece of vegetable in a pot of boiling water or dashi (broth) made with konbu (seaweed) and stirring it. Shabu-shabu was introduced to Japan in the 20th century with the opening of the Suehiro restaurant in Osaka, where the name was invented. Shabu shabu is a popular Japanese-style hot pot in which meat and assorted vegetables are cooked in a tasty broth called kombu dashi. Cooked meat and vegetables are usually dipped in ponzu or gum sauce (sesame seeds) before eating and served with a bowl of steamed white rice.
Normally, raw meat is dipped in the hot broth for a few seconds, as the pieces are cut into paper-thin slices to cook quickly. If you're at home cooking the hot pot, I hope this post will guide you through everything you need to know to enjoy your first Shabu Shabu experience. Seafood is also very popular at Shabu Shabu, with some popular seafood including tiger shrimp, squid and scallops. When you want to eat meat, you take a slice with the common chopsticks, add the broth for a few seconds and pass it to your own bowl with a dipping sauce.
It's easy to make Shabu Shabu at home (and everyone will love it), you just have to have the right ingredients and the right equipment. A list of well-known Japanese dishes will include sushi and tempura, but shabu-shabu may not even make the cut, which is really a shame because it's one of the easiest Japanese foods to prepare. Shabu-shabu is the sound that occurs when you mix meat and vegetables in the broth and ideally, only a few shakes are needed. Shabu-shabu is a lot like the original Chinese version compared to other Japanese hot pot dishes (nabemono), such as sukiyaki.
The most important thing is that whatever meat you choose, you have to cut it into thin slices because it has to cook very quickly. Along with sukiyaki, shabu-shabu is a common dish in many parts of Japan, but also in local Japanese neighborhoods (colloquially called Little Tokyos) in countries such as the United States and Canada.