Shabu Shabu is not a traditional Korean dish, it’s Japanese.  Actually, the idea originates from Chinese hot pot dishes, but it is very popular in Korea (not to mention delicious and healthy), so I had to share.  There are various kinds of shabu shabu, but what you will always find at these restaurants is a pot of boiling stock in the middle of your table, to which you’ll add an array of vegetables and then cook your meat in it.  Sometimes there is also a grill along the outside of the pot for cooking meat, and at Vietnamese style shabu shabu restaurants you’ll find rice paper on the table to wrap up your meat and vegetables and then dip in various sauces.

The important thing to remember when going to a shabu shabu restaurant is you must bring a big appetite because you will eat a lot (the first time I experienced this meal I could barely walk home, I was that full).  This is because there are several “courses” involved, and it’s hard to stop eating when it tastes so good.  You begin by choosing a set of meat which will automatically come with loads of vegetables, plus noodles and rice.  You’ll also get a variety of traditional Korean side dishes (called banchan).  Originally, this dish was made with thinly sliced beef, which you only need to briefly dip in the stock to cook, but you will also see pork, duck, and seafood listed as options in meat sets.

One of the things I love about this meal is how beautiful it is, especially right when they begin arranging all the dishes on your table.  I tried to capture it on camera, but I found that a little hard to do because I was so distracted by the deliciousness.

The beautiful spread.

The colorful spread of vegetables.

The pink water is for softening the rice paper. I have yet to find out what they put in the water to make it pink.

The pink water is for softening the rice paper (I have yet to find out what they put in the water to make it pink). You can also see the meat set we ordered at this restaurant which is thinly sliced pork and beef.

The choice of meat for this occasion was thinly sliced beef and duck.

On another occasion, we chose thinly sliced beef and duck.

A Chinese version of shabu shabu. We had two different broths at this restaurant, one of which was really spicy.

This is a Chinese version of shabu shabu. We had two different broths at this restaurant, one of which was really spicy.

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The name shabu shabu is said to be an onomatopoeia for the sound the meat makes when being cooked in the broth. Here we cooked the duck on the grill and the thinly sliced beef in the pot.

After dipping this rice paper in warm water to soften it, you pile on some meat and vegetables of your choosing.

After dipping this rice paper in warm water to soften it, you pile on some meat and vegetables of your choosing.

Then you wrap it up and dip it into one of the sauces. So good!

Then you wrap it up and dip it into one of the sauces. So good!

After you finish the meat, you add noodles to the remaining broth.

After you finish the meat, you add noodles to the remaining broth and enjoy some noodle soup.

Finally, you add rice and an egg to soak up the last of the broth. Now you are extremely full.

Finally, you add rice and an egg to soak up the last of the broth. Now you are extremely full.

The beautiful spread.

Ready to do it all over again?

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