Shabu-shabu (しゃぶしゃぶ , also spelled shyabu-shyabu?) is a Japanese dish featuring thinly sliced beef boiled in water. The term is an onomatopœia, derived from the sound emitted when the ingredients are stirred in the cooking pot. The dish is related to sukiyaki in style: Both consist of thinly sliced meat and vegetables and served with dipping sauces. However, Shabu-shabu is considered to be more savory and less sweet than sukiyaki.
Shabu-shabu was introduced in Japan in the 20th century with the opening of the restaurant "Suehiro" in Osaka, where the name was invented. Its origins are traced back to the Chinese hot pot known as instant-boiled mutton (Shuàn Yángròu). Shabu-shabu is most similar to the original Chinese version when compared to other Japanese dishes (nabemono) such as sukiyaki. Suehiro registered the name as a trademark in 1955. Together with sukiyaki, shabu-shabu is a common dish in tourist hot-spots, especially in Tokyo, but also in local Japanese neighborhoods (colloquially called "Little Tokyos") in countries such as the United States and Canada.
The dish was originally made with thinly sliced beef, but some versions use pork, crab, chicken, lamb, duck, or lobster. Most often, ribeye steak is used, but less tender cuts, such as top sirloin, are also common. A more expensive meat, such as wagyū, may also be used. It is usually served with tofu and vegetables, including Chinese cabbage, chrysanthemum leaves, nori (edible seaweed), onions, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and enokitake mushrooms. In some places, udon, mochi or harusame noodles may also be served.
The dish is prepared by submerging a thin slice of meat or a piece of vegetable in a pot of boiling water or dashi (broth) made with konbu (kelp) and stirring it. Cooked meat and vegetables are usually dipped in ponzu or goma (sesame seed) sauce before eating, and served with a bowl of steamed white rice. Once the meat and vegetables have been eaten, leftover broth from the pot is customarily combined with the remaining rice, and the resulting soup is usually eaten last.