<a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/sunnybreaks/5028451571/” title=”IMG_5324 by esquimauxpie, on Flickr”><img src=”http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4144/5028451571_41f56e2c08.jpg” width=”500″ height=”375″ alt=”IMG_5324″ /></a>
Shabu shabu is, apparently, originally a Japanese thing. But when it comes something as amorphous as throwing bits of food into boiling liquid then pulling it out and eating it, who can really say where it originated. They have a variation in China, and they do here in Korea too, as seen above. In Japan the liquid is a mild-tasting kind of thin soup stock. You can get that style in Korea too, but spicy is more popular.
There’s lots of minor variations on it. The restaurant I took this foter goes for more of a ‘whatever’s in season’ approach to vegetables, and they don’t have some of the more japanesy bits like tofu. Most places you share a pot, some you get your own separate one. On the left is beef, cut thin and rolled. I don’t know how they do that. It’s been in the fridge.
You can also go for a seafood shabby – that has lots of squid, some muscles, octopus rings, shell fish of various kinds and prawns.
The idea is once the liquid is up to boiling you throw bits of food in then fish them out (with your chopsticks) when cooked, eat, repeat. Most places give some sauces to dip your stuff in; soy sauce and spicy chilli sauce are common. You also normally get a bowl of flat noodles which it is recommended you throw in at the end of the veges/meat. Then after the noodles come out you have a certain amount of liquid, rich in the flavours of what has been boiled there. The last part is using this to make a kind of ricey porridge with. An egg, cooked rice and little bits of green, like chopped chives or something are thrown in, mixed and cooked til they get to a solid-ish state.
Eventhough, on volume, you’re not eating that much it’s very filling, healthy and kind of fun — it keeps you occupied — not the kind of thing you can mindlessly gobble down in 4 minutes. The g/f is crazy about shabu shabu and would eat it every night if she could.