What is shabu-shabu? Simply put, this mysteriously-named dish is a popular style of nabemono, or Japanese hot pot, featuring paper-thin slices of tender meat and fresh vegetables cooked together in a large open pot. Unlike other types of hot pot, where the ingredients are cooked together before serving, shabu-shabu ingredients are served raw and cooked tableside during the meal, similar to fondue.
>Meat is not originally part of the Japanese staple diet, and thus was—and still is—considered a luxury among Japanese people. Steak and beef culture in Japan is quite recent, occurring only after Western culture itself swept through the country during the Meiji era just 140 years ago.
Then as now, the Japanese constantly strive for excellence and everything they do, and the quality of their meat is no exception. The world-famous wagyu, or literally Japanese beef, is coveted for the amazing marbling it has as well as a deep flavor quite unlike any other meat. There are different types of wagyu, graded according to their yield and quality, with Kobe beef, Matsuzaka beef, and Omi beef commonly known as “the top 3.” Of course, the world of Japanese beef dishes isn’t limited to wagyu. From steak to teppanyaki and beyond, let’s look at six wonderful ways to serve Japanese meat.
Japanese cuisine is one of the most popular foods worldwide, with sushi and ramen restaurants found all around the globe. Japan’s traditional cuisine, known as “washoku”, is prized for its balance of flavors, use of fresh and healthy vegetables, and focus on harmony with nature. Read on for a list of Japanese foods to try.
Hokkaido, the northernmost island of Japan, is famed for its agricultural bounty, delicious milk and dairy products, and fine seafood. Sapporo, the prefecture’s capital and Japan’s fourth largest city, is a fantastic place to sample this high quality of dining. A charming destination with modern comforts amid turn-of-the-century red brick buildings, Sapporo offers a vibrant food scene that highlights Hokkaido’s excellent local ingredients.
As the days grow cooler and the foliage turns to red and gold, the long humid days of Japanese summer give way to autumn, Japan’s traditional season of food and dining. Known as shokuyoku no aki, or the “season of hearty appetites,” the fall harvest is the best time to enjoy a bountiful selection of Japanese ingredients at their very peak. Read on for 13 autumnal ingredients as well as featured Japanese autumn food to try.
Japanese culture is famous for its emphasis on seasonality, a tradition that springs from the country’s varied climate with four distinct seasons and its Shinto background, a religion based on worshiping nature and natural forces. Even in modern times, this appreciation of all things natural can be seen in the various seasonal celebrations as well as Japan’s emphasis on eating foods at the peak of their seasonal freshness.
Japanese food culture is one of the most highly prized in the world, with Japan becoming the only country aside from France to have its cuisine included on the UNESCO cultural heritage list. In particular, Japanese delicacies, which often vary according to the changing seasons, are notable not only for the exceptional care and attention given to their preparation, but for the unprecedented flavor that preparation ultimately yields. To guide you on your dining adventures, here are 10 luxurious Japanese ingredients that you will want to try when visiting this culinary mecca to the East.
Japan has plenty to offer for the discerning diner. With the changing seasons comes a range of tantalizing tastes, each offering a truly elevated epicurean experience. Spring weather brings delicately flavored vegetables and edible buds and shoots; and warmer ocean currents draw fresh seafood closer to the coast. Read on to discover more about this special time of year, imbued with fleeting sensations so beloved that the Japanese people actually dub them, “the taste of spring.” Here are just a few of the essential Japanese ingredients that are at their best in springtime.
>Shojin ryori is the traditional dining style of Buddhist monks in Japan, and grew widespread in popularity with the spread of Zen Buddhism in the 13th century. As the cuisine is made without meat, fish or other animal products, it can be enjoyed by vegans, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
>Fugu, Japanese pufferfish, is notorious for the highly toxic poison—tetrodotoxin—contained in its organs. Despite its deadly potential, fugu has been eaten in Japan for hundreds of years. As it was initially unknown how to properly prepare the fish, there were many fatalities from fugu consumption. For this reason, the eating of fugu was banned from around 1570 to 1870. These days fugu is commonly available in restaurants and supermarkets throughout Japan, but must be prepared by a licensed chef, and is prohibited to be prepared in the home—-even today, the Japanese royal family is forbidden from eating it.