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Shabu-Shabu originated in the 13th century.  Genghis Khan’s troops would gather around a large pot and cook together. The Great Khan’s highly mobile army preferred meat thinly sliced for quick cooking.  Shabu-Shabu was introduced to Japan in the 20th century with the opening of the first Shabu-Shabu restaurant, "Suehiro."  The cooking concept proved popular, and spread rapidly first through Asia and then increasingly through Western countries as well. Shabu-Shabu is now a popular dish in tourist hot spots. In the early 1990s, "Shabu-Shabu House" was the first Shabu-Shabu specialized restaurant in North America, and since then has spread out over the state of California.


This dish is traditionally made with thinly sliced beef, chicken, seafood, or pork. Most often, tender rib-eye steak is used. Shabu-Shabu vegetables are usually served with tofu, cabbage, onions, carrots, and enoki mushrooms, as well as udon noodles. The dish is prepared by submerging a very thin slice of meat or a piece of vegetable in a pot of boiling water and swishing it back and forth several times. The familiar swishing sound is where the dish gets its name, “shabu-shabu,” which translates to "swish-swish." The cooked meat and vegetables are usually dipped in “ponzu” or "Goma" sauce before eating, accompanied by a bowl of steamed white rice. Each customer will also have condiments to cater to personal preferences and tastes. These include blended fresh garlic, thinly sliced green onions, and traditional daikon radish. Once the majority of the meat and vegetables have been eaten, udon noodles are customarily added to the developed broth in the cooking pot, heated through, and finished off with the remaining meat and vegetables.