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Summer Eats: Plan a Shabu Shabu, Hot Pot Dinner Date Night At Home Experience

Shabu Shabu is a perfect dish to prepare for date night or a night in with family because people come together, sit around a pot of boiling water and cook a plate of thinly sliced meats and cut veggies. These foods are slowly dipped into the pot and eaten with ponzu or other soy based sauces. The experience as a whole brings a sense of "togetherness" since each person is eating from the same pot.

It was first introduced in Osaka Japan during the 20th century. The term Shabu Shabu is an onomonopia which literally means the sound “swish swish”. Since the meat is so thinly sliced it would only be in the water for a short time and would sound like swish swish.

My husband Reid and I bought our first hot pot (one of the best kitchen purchases we made) at the beginning of our relationship (about 5 years ago) and have enjoyed eating this dish together as a dating couple and now a married couple. For us, part of the fun was and still is going to the Japanese markets to pick out different foods that we wanted to cook for dinner that night. We loved adding meats, seafood (sometimes we would splurge and add crab!) and personally for me, I love eating a lot of vegetables. Many times we also loved adding mochi because it adds another level of texture to this dish. To this day, there's always a feeling of excitement for both of us when we decide to have "shabu shabu" night with each other or with our family.

For Fathers Day 2021, we had a large family shabu shabu gathering. A bunch of my family members also own shabu shabu pots so we brought them all together to create this experience. Hopefully this video along with this blog will give you ideas on how to add shabu shabu into your life (if you don't do this already!).

Equipment used to film this video: (Amazon Affiliate Links)

Iphone Telepod:

Here are some ideas and tips to plan your own shabu shabu/hot pot experience at home!

  1. Prepare your pot/Purchase a hot pot - There are so many ways to do this. If you have a portable butane gas stove at home, you can always just use that and place a pot of water on top of that.

Here is the hot pot that we own: We like this one because you just have to plug it in. (It's still very good and we've had it for about 5 years... probably using it at least once every couple months) Since we generally want to place the pot in the middle of the table, we also have an extension cord that we use with this pot.

2. Get your ingredients: Here are some of the ingredients that I would suggest- Chinese cabbage, bok choy, green onions, enoki mushrooms, carrots, arabiki sausage noodles, beef, pork, chicken, seafood, tofu.

Here is what I bought for Reid and I: green onion, bok choy, choy sum, carrots, enoki mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, pork belly, sirloin beef, tofu, arabiki sausage, and yakisoba noodles (already cooked). Having the noodles precooked makes it much easier when making shabu shabu.

If you are able to go to an Asian/Japanese market, make sure to buy your meats as thin as possible. At Don Quijote here in Hawaii, they sell meats ready to make for shabu shabu which makes this very convenient. If you cannot find thinly sliced meats, you can always cut your own.

3. Prepare the area and the plates: Having a nice presentation for the food is part of the experience. Personally, I really enjoy displaying all the foods on plates before we start. Don't forget to cook rice!

We don't own any big platter type of trays so I place everything on plates. But if you do own bigger platters/trays, this would be a great time to use them!

4. After everything is prepared, get your sauce! Reid and I suggest that you use our favorite ponzu sauce:

We didn't have this sauce that night, but we also enjoy this goma (sesame sauce) too!

5. Add water and 1 piece Dashi Konbu to the Pot- Dashi konbu is generally for soup bases. Here is one similar to the one we bought:

6. Two bowls each! Make sure to have one bowl for your rice and one bowl for your sauce and cooked meats and veggies! (And yes, we mainly eat brown rice... but Japanese white rice is always the best tasting!)

Brown rice that we buy:

7. Dig in and enjoy!

Start by adding cabbage, green onions, and some of the basic veggies to help add more flavor to the boiling water. The meats should be added in slowly as you will be eating them.

As you take out the cooked food from the hot pot, dip into the ponzu sauce and eat with a side of rice.

*Leftover tip: If you prepared too much food and have leftovers at the end of the meal, I would suggest cooking all the meat at least and keeping it in a container. When you are ready to eat again, just bring a pot of water to a boil on the stove, cook the leftover veggies that are still raw (or the cooked ones) and add in the meat to warm it up.

I hope this gave you a fun idea for your next date night or gathering! Thank you so much for reading this.

Till the next one,


***Some of the links above are affiliate links, which means I may earn a small commission if anyone purchases through them. This helps support my channel so I can continue to create more blogs for Hawaii Food and Family!

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