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  #61  
Old 12-16-2010, 01:41 AM
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I'm more into Korean barbecue, generally, but shabu shabu sounds so good right now.

not that I can get either around here!
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  #62  
Old 12-16-2010, 10:59 AM
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We make Japanese curry every so often using Vermont Curry blocks (yes, Vermont is a popular Japanese brand for those who haven't run into it) from an asian grocery and sticky rice bought in bulk from the same place. And then just throw in whatever - onions, potatoes, apples, tofu, beef if you're not vegetarian, etc. Pretty easy and delicious.
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  #63  
Old 12-21-2010, 03:03 PM
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It's hard to find real Japanese food in Tampa, but this one restaurant called I Ai Sushi fits the bill.


Tempura-don.


Kaki Fry. Tasty, but burns your mouth if you eat it too quick.


Ramen.

They also have Shabu Shabu (I want to try it), but I'm not sure if $28 is a good price for it?
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  #64  
Old 12-21-2010, 03:46 PM
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$28 is really high for shabu shabu unless the beef is special. Honestly, as much as I love shabu shabu, unless you live in Japan or Los Angeles I can't really recommend bothering with it. It's a bad gamble.
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  #65  
Old 12-21-2010, 06:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Necronopticous View Post
$28 is really high for shabu shabu unless the beef is special. Honestly, as much as I love shabu shabu, unless you live in Japan or Los Angeles I can't really recommend bothering with it. It's a bad gamble.
I can vouch for "Shabu" in Mission Viejo and Shinsen-gumi Shabu Shabu in Torrance.

And maybe where Necro posted; that looked good.
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  #66  
Old 12-21-2010, 06:37 PM
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I honestly don't really get why shabu shabu is all that great. Don't get me wrong, I like it well enough, but what is it that you guys are going crazy over? Am I just not seeing something?
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  #67  
Old 12-21-2010, 06:45 PM
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Tomm,

If you've never had Shabu Shabu House you've got to try it. It's the original. The owner, Yoshi, brought shabu shabu to the US in 1991. It literally did not exist out here before that. It's a lovingly run little place and I've never had a shabu shabu meal that has even come close. I've been going religiously for over seven years. It's my favorite place to eat.

It's been a long while since our Shinsengumi Hakata outing. Once Kish is back in town maybe we should organize an excursion out to Shabu Shabu House. You will not be disappointed.

Last edited by Necronopticous; 12-21-2010 at 07:02 PM.
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  #68  
Old 12-21-2010, 06:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul le Fou View Post
I honestly don't really get why shabu shabu is all that great. Don't get me wrong, I like it well enough, but what is it that you guys are going crazy over? Am I just not seeing something?
It's extremely likely that you've just never had good shabu shabu. Most western shabu shabu restaurants are a scam. They serve cheap low quality beef and vegetables with cheaper bottled ponzu and gomadare that taste like ass, and since the patrons cook the food themselves, there is no need to hire a chef. The guys that run these things are making bank, and that's the only reason they got into it in the first place. The thing is that most people don't know what they're missing out on because they've never had the real deal--nearly all of the places that opened up in the US after Shabu Shabu House caught on in the '90s were just a result of entrepreneurs with dollar signs in their eyes. It's such a sadness.

edit: blah--looks like you're in Japan. Anyway, the above comments still hold for us poor westerners. I can't speak on behalf of any Japanese shabu places since I've never been.
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  #69  
Old 12-22-2010, 09:35 AM
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Paul - it's the experience, really.

The advantage of Shinsengumi, anyway, is the best ponzu in the world and tasty side dishes and appetizers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Necro
It's been a long while since our Shinsengumi Hakata outing.
But that means-- But how!?
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  #70  
Old 12-22-2010, 10:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomm Guycot View Post
Shinsengumi
Explain this term. I know it means other things, but what does it mean here? A restaurant? (I was given a shirt with 新撰組 on it in high school and wondered why anyone would print that on clothing.)

Also, did you guys go to Hakata/Fukuoka? I love that place so much.
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  #71  
Old 12-22-2010, 01:31 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Necronopticous View Post
The owner, Yoshi, brought shabu shabu to the US in 1991. It literally did not exist out here before that.
What's so fundamentally different about shabu shabu compared to hot pot (huo guo)? All my Chinese relatives seem to think it's practically the same thing, in which case it's been in the US a lot longer than since 1991.
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  #72  
Old 12-22-2010, 02:10 PM
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Shabu shabu is defined by its limitations. There's a pot of boiling water at each seat. You have some vegetables and tofu to put in there, but it's mostly about cooking the beef and putting it on your rice.

I've only been to Chinese hot pot once, but it seemed like a mess in comparison. One pot to a table of people, murky broth, way too many warring flavors.
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  #73  
Old 12-22-2010, 06:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishi View Post
Shabu shabu is defined by its limitations. There's a pot of boiling water at each seat. You have some vegetables and tofu to put in there, but it's mostly about cooking the beef and putting it on your rice.
I've been to hot pot places that where each person gets their own pot. There are different styles of hot pot varying by region and I'm not convinced shabu shabu isn't just a different regional variant by your description.
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  #74  
Old 12-22-2010, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tungwene View Post
I've been to hot pot places that where each person gets their own pot. There are different styles of hot pot varying by region and I'm not convinced shabu shabu isn't just a different regional variant by your description.
Shabu shabu is in fact a kind of hot pot (鍋, "nabe" in Japanese). Basically the only difference is that instead of putting everything into the pot to cook, with shabu shabu you're not supposed to place any of the meat into the pot; you just hold it with your chopsticks and swish it through the water until it's just barely cooked enough (The word "shabu shabu" is an onomatopoeia for swishing) then eat it. They typically use much higher quality meat, as well, since instead of Boiling Forever you're very quickly introducing it to the idea of boiling before taking it off to another corner of the dance.

The nabe comparison is basically why I asked my question earlier. Considering that I get together with my friends and have nabe every monday during the fall and winter, I guess the experience is kind of lost on me and it's just a more expensive/higher-quality version of what I can literally do right in my house with pretty minimal effort. (You can buy a burner and gas for maybe $20 and a 1/2-person nabe pot costs less than $10; and most of us had them already from our predecessors leaving them behind; the ingredients are pretty cheap, usually costs about $5 a head for a ton of vegetables, pork or beef, mushrooms, tofu...) We've even held back on the meat in our hot pot and done shabu shabu by, well, shabu-shabu-ing it a bit towards the end.




Actually, our supervisor from the BoE has been talking (mostly jokingly... we think...?) to my friend and me about opening a Nabe restaurant in America. I... think that would go over pretty well.
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  #75  
Old 12-23-2010, 12:37 AM
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I question the accuracy of "shabu is done by holding the meat" only because I was shown how to shabu by actual Japanese people, and we leave that meat in.

*shrug*
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  #76  
Old 12-23-2010, 05:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomm Guycot View Post
I question the accuracy of "shabu is done by holding the meat" only because I was shown how to shabu by actual Japanese people, and we leave that meat in.

*shrug*
You mean just put the meat in the pot, let it cook, take it out? That's not shabu shabu, that's just regular nabe.

I mean, you don't need to hold onto it or anything, you could put it in and take it out really soon and it's functionally identical. But again, the word Shabu Shabu means "swish swish," it's the sound the water makes by swishing the meat through it.

And yes, I was told and shown this "by actual Japanese people," and actually in Japan to boot. Your move.
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  #77  
Old 12-23-2010, 06:30 AM
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my first shabu-shabu experience was humiliating because I had not quite mastered using chopsticks yet.

I mean, I still haven't mastered it, but I'm considerably less inept now!
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  #78  
Old 12-23-2010, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul le Fou View Post
You mean just put the meat in the pot, let it cook, take it out? That's not shabu shabu, that's just regular nabe.

I mean, you don't need to hold onto it or anything, you could put it in and take it out really soon and it's functionally identical. But again, the word Shabu Shabu means "swish swish," it's the sound the water makes by swishing the meat through it.

And yes, I was told and shown this "by actual Japanese people," and actually in Japan to boot. Your move.
The first couple of times I went for shabu shabu I threw a couple of pieces of meat in at a time, waited a minute or two, and then proceeded to eat them. Since ponzu and gomadare are so savory and flavorful I never knew that I was doing it wrong, and ruining my beef by cooking all of the flavor out of it. It wasn't until one Shabu Shabu House outing when Yoshi saw me doing this and politely corrected me that I started doing it correctly. He told me that "2 or 3 second is best." Never knew what I was missing until I ate that next mouthful of beef. It was that moment when Shabu Shabu House went from being a treat to my favorite restaurant in LA.

At another outing, a Japanese dude sitting next to me taught me another technique, where you rub a small spoonful of the garlic puree into the center of a couple of slices of meat, fold them lengthwise, then roll them up tightly and cook for a few minutes while you eat other slices normally. It's a nice little diversion.
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  #79  
Old 12-23-2010, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mopinks View Post
my first shabu-shabu experience was humiliating because I had not quite mastered using chopsticks yet.

I mean, I still haven't mastered it, but I'm considerably less inept now!
One time I was at a Japanese restaurant, sitting at the bar with my friend who is also white as they come. Next to us were two Japanese women, probably in their 40s or 50s. At one point the woman closest to me turned to us and said "Oh, you use chopsticks very well!" which is one of the weirdest compliments I've ever received. Later on I noticed she was spooning soup to her mouth, and later joked about complimenting her on her understanding and use of the spoon. Good times.
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  #80  
Old 12-23-2010, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul le Fou View Post
Actually, our supervisor from the BoE has been talking (mostly jokingly... we think...?) to my friend and me about opening a Nabe restaurant in America. I... think that would go over pretty well.
Honestly, the main course at The Melting Pot chain is basically just a slightly Americanized variant of nabe. You get a pot of boiling broth, you dump veggies in, you skewer bits of meat and/or seafood on fondue forks and dunk them in briefly. Pretty much the same. If you just had them slice the meat thinly instead of in chunks you could even do shabu-shabu.
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  #81  
Old 12-23-2010, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Necronopticous View Post
One time I was at a Japanese restaurant, sitting at the bar with my friend who is also white as they come. Next to us were two Japanese women, probably in their 40s or 50s. At one point the woman closest to me turned to us and said "Oh, you use chopsticks very well!" which is one of the weirdest compliments I've ever received. Later on I noticed she was spooning soup to her mouth, and later joked about complimenting her on her understanding and use of the spoon. Good times.
It's actually not that weird. (Well, ok, it's actually really weird, but) no foreigner can eat two meals in Japan (or in the company of Japanese people) before someone compliments them on their use of chopsticks. I've gotten it at least a few times at each of my schools from various teachers, and out with friends even. My friend has to gauge the dates he goes on by whether or not the girl tells him he's "hashi jouzu."

But they never seem to get it when I do the same thing and tell them how good they are with a spoon...
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  #82  
Old 12-24-2010, 03:01 AM
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A patrol officer new to one of the elementary schools asked me if I was used to Japan (he was surprised when I told him I'd been here for a year). He was a chummy, loud guy who had all the best intentions. At some point during lunch a piece of cold chicken covered in sauce went flying out of my chopsticks and across the table.

Patrol guy: I guess you aren't used to chopsticks, eh?

:T

But to be fair, it was pretty funny.
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  #83  
Old 12-24-2010, 01:57 PM
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The only time I recall anyone being genuinely impressed with my chopstickery was when I flipped them around to use the other ends for something in the middle of the table in a communal basket. And I was still wrong because apparently we knew each other well enough that I didn't have to do that.

But in general, yeah, I point out how great they are with a fork, in a few cases where they were being pretty offensive, have made it clear I am in fact a fully fledged human being with functioning hands.
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  #84  
Old 12-24-2010, 08:58 PM
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Quote:
It's actually not that weird. (Well, ok, it's actually really weird, but) no foreigner can eat two meals in Japan (or in the company of Japanese people) before someone compliments them on their use of chopsticks. I've gotten it at least a few times at each of my schools from various teachers, and out with friends even. My friend has to gauge the dates he goes on by whether or not the girl tells him he's "hashi jouzu."
I hold my chopsticks unusually (much like I hold my pencil, also in an unusual way), and I've used that to start some interesting conversations on how people in Japan hold chopsticks (the consensus was that the way I held them was unusual, but everyone at the table could think of other Japanese people who held them that way).
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  #85  
Old 12-28-2010, 02:10 PM
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Kagoshima style tempura.
I just wanted to say that I love that Coke glass.
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  #86  
Old 12-29-2010, 07:48 AM
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So my girlfriend and I had a big feast of... horse meat. Raw horse meat, raw horse liver, lightly seared horse meat, salt grilled horse meat and heart and (???), raw horse meat in natto, horse intestines, horse meat soup, raw horse meat sushi.

It was delicious.
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  #87  
Old 01-02-2011, 08:09 PM
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Good on you. Assert your Apex Predator heritage!
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  #88  
Old 01-05-2011, 10:34 PM
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Ugh Jesus Christ, my stomach is killing me. One of my town's famous foods is wild boar, which is delicious. We know a place where you can get wild boar donburi (on a bowl of rice, basically). Except I didn't get the normal delicious egg one. I got the one with Yama no Imo (mountain potato/yam) grated into a thick disgusting slime on top. I've had it before and hated it, but this place grilled it so I thought it might be different. It wasn't (it was grilled way too lightly; but the grilled parts had vague promise. Oh well, not something I'll be revisiting). A big old bowl of potato jizz to mix in with my rice and meat and veggies. The texture was gross and now it is not sittin' well.

Just let it be a reminder of the dark side of Japanese food. They eat some nasty shit over here.




On the other hand, I tried a new ramen place in town the other day. Delicious! You could get chunk pork belly instead of the normal thin-sliced, they did the half-boiled eggs, have great pork bone broth, and on the table was a little bucket of whole roasted garlic cloves and a garlic press to put right in there. Heavenly.

This is in on top of the ramen we ate down in Kyushu where it's famous. I had one with a "black" (burnt) garlic broth. It was fantastic. I am on a ramen kick that I can feel will be going on for a long, long time.
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  #89  
Old 01-11-2011, 03:41 PM
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My girlfriend got a tayaki iron for Christmas! Good times ensued. She's made two batches now, using everything from chestnut paste to solid chocolate to maple butter as filling. Sadly, liquidy things like caramel and the aforementioned maple butter don't seem to survive the process very well - they overheat and often explode their poor fishes from the inside. The solid chocolate gave much better results, ending up a delicious gooey liquid (I have half a mind to try stuffing a marshmallow in there to make tayaki smores). We'll have to try getting our hands on some sweet bean paste or custard, in order to get the authentic experience, but so far it's been lots of fun.
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  #90  
Old 01-11-2011, 11:15 PM
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White chocolate is good, too.
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