A Japanese hot pot will raise your spirits during the cold winter!

A popular dish during the winter in Japan is the hot pot (na-be). It’s usually shared among several people and they eat it while it cooks over a tabletop stove. The delicious flavor is concentrated in the soup from all the delicious ingredients. Towards the end of this meal, people will usually put rice cakes or udon noodles in the leftover soup, or even make rice porridge by adding rice and eggs.

2019-04-17   Food & Drinks,

hot pot

The hot pot

The hot pot will warm your body!

Japanese people love eating the hot pot dish during the cold winter months and share it with each other over dinner conversation. There are several types of dishes in each area and I will tell you about the three most popular ones in Japan!

shabu shabu

shabu shabu
Dipping it in hot water

Shabu-shabu, thin slices of meat partially boiled in hot soup.

The hot pot dish, shabu-shabu is eaten with thin slices of meat, vegetables, and tofu. You dip them in boiling hot water several times and eat them with sauce. There are two main kinds of sauces, sesame sauce and ponzu sauce. The meat is usually beef, but pork and chicken are also used. The secret to eating this is to boil the meat first, because the combination of the inosinic acid from the meat and the amino acids from the Konbu creates a strong ‘umami’ (delicious flavor). The vegetables will also taste very delicious after doing this. When boiling the meat, use your chopsticks and just dip the meat in the hot water 2 to 3 times, and when the meat gets pale pink, it’s ready to be eaten. Please be careful not to dip the meat too much, because overcooking it makes it tough!



Oden, It’s so fun to choose from a variety of ingredients!

Oden is another kind of hot pot with a variety of ingredients boiled in a soy sauce based soup.
You can use many different ingredients with oden; Chikuwa (flour paste cake), konnyaku, boiled eggs, atsuage (fried tofu), ganmodoki (fried bean curd), and many others. The ingredients differ in each area. Oden is considered winter food in Japan and you can even buy it fully cooked at convenience stores during autumn and winter. The best part of oden is choosing the ingredients! You can choose mustard or miso, depending on your taste. My favorites are daikon and oage (fried tofu), because they absorb the delicious soup!

Suki yaki

Sukiyaki, beef hot pot with a sweet, thick chili soup!

The soup for the sukiyaki hot pot is usually thicker than the other two, because it contains more soy sauce and sugar. Common vegetables used are shiitake mushrooms, tofu, shirataki, and fu (wheat gluten). The meat is sliced thicker than shabu-shabu and its vegetables are cooked together. You can also add scrambled eggs and dip the ingredients in it. The thick soup goes well with the scrambled eggs and has a mild taste. Sukiyaki goes really well with steamed rice too!
All of the dishes are very delicious during winter and it’s nice to enjoy them with family and friends around the dinner table.

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Writer/ Translator

I love Japanese folkcraft article, traditional handicrafts and antiques. I’m seeking the Japanese people’s religious outlooks and its origins that are behind Japanese people’s unique sense and techniques rooted in the ordinary life.