I read once that shabu shabu – well, any sort of Asian hot pot dish – can be traced back to Genghis Khan, who wanted his soldiers to eat quick but healthy meals on the march, and had them cook it in their upturned helmets. I’m not sure if that’s at all true, but on our last night in Tokyo, Niles and Sam and I had some very delicious shabu shabu, cooked on an electric tabletop grill. It was delicious AND fun. The vegetables in the boiling water end up making a delicious little broth, and the thin slices of beef cook up in seconds. I was addicted to the restaurant’s ponzu, and I ended up dipping everything in it, from bites of rice to the beef and pork, to the mushrooms and sprouts I snatched out of the rapidly boiling water.
Apparently, the name “shabu shabu” means “swish swish”, the sound of swishing your meat back and forth in the boiling water.
Shabu shabu’s one of the few things that I’m not entirely sure if we can find in Chicago, although Yelp looks like there are a few places that offer it. It wouldn’t be that hard to make on my own, except you’d need a tabletop grill, or maybe just a hot plate?
Okay, NOW this might be the last comic I post about our Tokyo trip!