Tonight, after a very busy day of sight-seeing in Tokyo, Japan, several members of the Wartburg College Wind Ensemble visited a Shabu Shabu restaurant in the city. The restaurant was about a fifteen minute walk from our hotel, and everyone enjoyed talking and looking at the city lights on the way there.
Upon entering the restaurant, we realized that Shabu Shabu includes a very detailed process for eating the food. At first, some members of the group were confused and nervous about the new dining experience. When we sat down at our table we saw several trays of raw meat and a pot of boiling water in the middle of the table.
Most members did not know about the process of cooking Shabu Shabu. Luckily for our group, there were English directions on the table. Shabu Shabu meals begin by filling a large bowl or plate with vegetables selected from a wide variety of options. Some of the vegetables that I ate included broccolli, lettuce, different types of beans, potatoes, and a few types of noodles as well. After filling the plate with the desired options, people take turns dumping their vegetables into the boiling water. The vegetables cook for about 30 seconds and then you dip them in a soy sauce/rice wine mixture. When you decide to eat meat, you grab a piece your chopsticks and hold it in the boiling pot for about a minute. After the meat is cooked, this can also be dipped in soy sauce or sesame sauce.
I was very nervous about this experience. When I first arrived at the Shabu Shabu restaurant and saw raw meat, I wanted to turn around and leave. Even after cooking the meat for this short period of time it did not necessarily look like the best tasting food. One thing that I learned through this experience is that it is important to try things, even if your first instinct is to be apprehensive! I was very pleasantly surprised as how much I enjoyed eating Shabu Shabu; it has been the best meal I have had so far on this entire trip!