Nabe and Shabu Shabu: Pots of Gold

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Posted on March 29, 2015 4:17 pm | Leave your thoughts

Nabe (鍋物) and shabu shabu (しゃぶしゃぶ) are popular Japanese food options where the magic happens in a cooking pot at your table. Nabe is a Japanese favorite in the cold months, because it is an ever evolving stew/soup. It changes due to the different ingredients added at certain points, which allows the broth to take on various types of flavor based on what items were put in. The broth can become surprisingly deep and complex as the night moves on. Shabu shabu is all about thin slices of meat that you boil in a pot quickly and dip in a variety of delicious sauces. Do not confuse shabu shabu with sukiyaki, since sukiyaki has a sweeter flavor.

Nabe and shabu shabu rely on the savory side of the taste buds and therefore work particularly well with alcohol. In fact, both are perfect meals for groups of friends and family. It can be a team exercise in getting the food ready, which is fun and adds a playful element to dinning out. Nabe and shabu shabu are also a meal you take slow. Drinking, talking, and generally chilling are kind of essential when enjoying their wonder. Many restaurants that do nabe or shabu shabu have nomihoudai(all-you-can-drink) specials and it is highly recommended if you are looking to cut loose; Nomihoudai Japanese Cheat Sheet.

Nabe: Quick Facts

    Nabe has six varieties:

  • Yosenabe – Typically it has a soy or miso broth and involves a mishmash stuff to put in depending on the restaurant.
  • Chankonabe – Made famous as the Sumo wresters food, as it is high in protein and portions. Expect chicken meatballs, chinese cabbage, and noodles.
  • Yudofu – Tofu and the slightly sour ponzu sauce are going to be featured.
  • Sukiyaki – Thinly sliced meat, raw egg, and sweet sauces are what happens here.
  • Oden – Cooked eggs, fish cake, and daikon are cooked in a soy-dashi broth.
  • Motsunabe – Mostly beef and pork with veggies, champon noodles get cooked in the broth afterwards to get full flavor.
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Shabu Shabu: Quick Facts

Like a lot of Japanese cuisine shabu shabu has its roots from China. Osaka started the trend in the early 20th century and Japan as a whole has embraced it in recent decades as a Japanese food staple. Ponzu and sesame are the two main flavor profiles in the dipping sauces. Apart from pork and beef, there are restaurants that use chicken, seafood (even lobster!).

Nabe Restaurant Options in Tokyo

Dharma and Nishi(だるまや 西新宿店)

Address: Tokyo Shinjuku-ku Nishi 1-15-7 Nishiguchi Life Building 2F
Hours: 5:30~11:00

Futoshi Tatsukisono Nishi(太樹苑 西新宿店)

Address: Tokyo Shinjuku-ku Nishi 7-23-1 TS Building 1F
Hours: 5:00~1:00am

HANARE (博多もつ鍋 蟻月)

Address: Tokyo Shibuya Sarugakucho 22-8
Hours: 6:00~Midnight

Korea Chinbuta and Shibuya Two(韓国亭豚や 渋谷ニ号店)

Address: Tokyo , Shibuya-ku, Udagawa-cho, 33-12 J + R building side R 4F
Hours: 4:30~4:30am

Shabu Shabu Restaurant Options in Tokyo

Yoyogi Now Half(代々木 今半)

Address: Tokyo , Shibuya-ku, Yoyogi 1-45-4 Sanyo building B1F
Hours: 5:30~9:30

Matsuki Ya(松木家)

Address: Tokyo , Shibuya-ku, Maruyama-cho, 6-8
Hours: Mon-Fri 11:30am to 1:30pm 5:00pm to 10:00pm | Sat 5:00pm to 10:00pm

Xiao Fei Yang(小肥羊 新宿店)

Address: Tokyo Shinjuku Kabukicho 2-26-3 Amimotobiru second floor
Hours: Mon-Fri 5:00pm ~ 5:00am | Saturday, Sunday and public holidays 4:00pm ~ 5:00am


Address: Tokyo Shinjuku-ku Nishi 1-16-8 Kono building annex 2F
Hours: 5:00pm ~ 11:00pm


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This post was written by Matt Desmond

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