Shabu-shabu was introduced to Japan in the 20th century with the opening of the Suehiro restaurant in Osaka, where the name was invented. Its origins date back to the Chinese hot pot known as instant boiled lamb (Shuàn Yángròu).
Shabushabu is a form of hot pot cooking that originated in Japan. Although shabu shabu has only existed since the middle of the 20th century, its history can be traced back to similar dishes that are much older.
Hot pot cooking became even more popular among the Chinese emperors of the Qing Dynasty from 1644 to 1912, where it was served with big celebrations and regularly every day. During this period, Chinese merchants brought this style of cuisine abroad to countries such as Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. Shabu Shabu in Japan The Japanese style of the hot pot arrived late in Japan. It has been said that a doctor from Tottori Prefecture (northwest of Kyoto) was sent to Beijing as an army surgeon during World War II.
There he tried the shuan yan rou, the Mongolian lamb hot pot, which was normally served as a winter dish. Either he had asked his younger brother to buy shabu from a nearby source without paying for it, or he could have been a drug dealer who only recovered some of the things from his vendors because he wanted to give me a guest. It turned out that the term “Japanese” referred to the way the new drug was ingested by heating it with a flame, as if cooking a Japanese hot pot, “shabu-shabu style”. If the upper and middle classes used shabu as a recreational drug, the poor would resort to it to stay awake and out of their luck.
Although I was busy with work and completely forgot about shabu, I noticed its widespread use among the poor. Soon after, in 1955, shabu shabu arrived in Tokyo, where it later spread as a beloved dish throughout the country. In 1952, Suehiro, a restaurant in Osaka (which still exists today), officially changed the name from mizudaki to shabu shabu, since this was the house specialty. Like instant boiled lamb, shabu shabu also involves cooking ingredients by briefly dipping them in a broth over low heat.
After the Edsa People's Power Revolution in 1986, shabu seemed to have become popular among the upper and middle classes. A person in shabu expresses happiness, their eyes shine with emotion, all their being ready to embrace life and all its possibilities. Recently, while walking down an alley near a dam that connects Bacoor and Las Piñas, I heard a group of men and women talk about “shabu” (crystalline methamphetamine) and its easy availability despite the bloody war on drugs being waged by the Duterte administration. One could stay awake for days drinking 500 pesos worth of shabu, compared to a 30-minute discharge of a few lines of cocaine.