Oct 17, '09

The joys of yakiniku, shabu -shabu and sukiyaki


Since Japan has opened up for foreigners at the end of the 19th century, beef has become a very popular product in Japanese cuisine. In fact, the Japanese are so obsessed about the quality of their beef that when you go to a good teppanyaki or sukiyaki restaurant, they would put small notes with numbers and origins of the meat. Like in the image of gold medal winner  Miyaazaki beef, at Miyachuku, a teppanyaki restaurant in Ginza.

I usually don’t eat too much beef when I am in Europe, but believe me, it is very difficult to resist to a sizzling bite of marbled Japanese beef when you are in Tokyo. I have posted about teppanyaki before, but since that time I have also discovered yakiniku, shabu-shabu and sukiyaki.

Yakiniku means grilled meat and was brought to Japan by Korean immigrants. You would grill bite-sized pieces of beef and dip to sweet soy or another kind of sauce. Even if Japanese yakiniku differs from Korean barbecue, you will still have some Korean specialities as kimchi for example. Because you share the grill on your table, yakiniku is very convivial and entertaining. 

An image of a grill at yakiniku restaurant somewhere at Ginza. ( I forgot its name).

So is shabu-shabu which is kind of Chinese hot pot. I find shabu-shabu the most healthy of all the Japanese beef preparations as you just swish back and forth very thinly sliced pieces of beef in hot water and dip them in ponzu or sesame sauces. The beef is served with various raw vegetables that you boil in the same water as the meat.

Some images of shabu-shabu from Shunbou restaurant (at Grand Hyatt Roppongi). The vegetables were put into the pot in the halfway of the dinner.

Shunbou restaurant
Shunbou restaurant
Shunbou restaurant
Shunbou restaurant

The final, and probably my favourite of the three is sukiyaki and you can read about it here.

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