Friday, January 25, 2013

Tokyo Hot Pot: Chanko nabe and Shabu-shabu

I'm unfortunately back in the cold and bleak Boston for the school year and have been trying to stay in as much as possible because of below freezing temperatures this week. All I've been craving to eat is anything hot and soupy, which brings me back to my recent stay in Tokyo, Japan. I had two types of hot pot: chanko nabe and shabu-shabu, both to warm me up from the "cold."

Chanko nabe is part of the power diet for sumo wrestlers to gain weight. The broth is usually chicken based with sake or mirin and is served with a variety of protein sources including beef, pork, and fish. The hot pot is served with all the ingredients inside including bok choy, cabbage, daikon, fried tofu, and vermicelli. My first meal in Tokyo after a hangover inducing night was a hot pot of chanko nabe, which warmed my belly and definitely nausea-curing. After the meal, we were prepared for a walking tour of Asakusa and Senso-ji Temple (photographed above). In the photos below, you'll see Fukuko making meatballs and inserting them into the hot pot.

Shabu-shabu is another form of Japanese hot pot where you cook thinly sliced pieces of beef, pork, and chicken. We started with a white broth and a citrus yuzu broth. Our set dinner came with regular sliced meats, wagyu, assorted vegetables, two types of sausages, and a side of noodles. Like Chinese hot pot, you cook all the meats first, then the vegetables so that the broth is richer from the meat, then finally the noodles. You dip all the food in either a ponzu or sesame seed sauce, which I like mixing together. 

So when it gets cold, start a hot broth, and get dipping!

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