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Difference Between Sukiyaki and Shabu-shabu

Sukiyaki vs Shabu-shabu

Sukiyaki and shabu-shabu are two different meats eaten in Japan. They are the same and are very thinly sliced meat. In Japanese markets they are sold separately because, even though the cut and thickness of the meat is paper thin cut beef, the dishes prepared with these ingredients are different, and the method of preparation is obviously different too. The meat used for both Sukiyaki and Shabu-shabu can be rib eye, top sirloin, or chuck, and in some very refined places it could also be Kobe beef or strip loin.

Sukiyaki is a Japanese dish which is prepared in the nabemono style or the Japanese hot pot. Each region in Japan has its own way of preparing the dish. The most prominent difference is in the Kansai region which is the western region and the Kanto region which is the eastern region. The preparation in Tokyo includes cooking thinly sliced beef slowly at the table side. It keeps cooking and simmering and is served alongside vegetables and other ingredients like tofu, cellophane noodles, and sauce. It is a one-dish meal. It is cooked in shallow pots of iron with soy sauce, mirin, sake, and sugar. The ingredients are usually dipped in beaten raw eggs before eating. In Osaka, the slices of meat are first grilled in tallow in a pan; then the other ingredients are put over the meat and thereafter a liquid is poured over everything and it is simmered in a pot. A raw egg is broken and added to the mixure before serving into the bowl itself. Sukiyaki is generally a winter dish and is eaten at Japanese year-end parties called bonenkai.

Shabu-shabu is not a hot-pot style preparation but a variant of it. It is more “savory” than “sweet” as compared to Sukiyaki. This dish is also prepared with very thinly sliced beef and is like a fondue dish with vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, nori, onions, etc. and is served with a dipping sauce along with other ingredients like harusame noodles, udon, mochi, etc. This dish is eaten year-round and not only in winters.

Preparation includes using rib eye steak or top sirloin, etc. The meat and vegetables are submerged in a broth made with kelp called kombu and is swished in it again and again. The repeated swishing sound is responsible for the name the dish has gotten. “Shabu-shabu” means “swish-swish.” The meat and vegetables are dipped in goma or sesame seed sauce before eating and served with a bowl of rice. After finishing the meat and vegetables the remaining broth is mixed with rice and eaten.


1.Sukiyaki and Shabu-shabu are two different Japanese dishes using the same thinly sliced cut meat.
2.Sukiyaki is a winter dish and a hot-pot style dish; Shabu-shabu is a variant of a hot-pot dish and is eaten all year-round.
3.Sukiyaki is sweeter and Shabu-shabu is savory.
4.Sukiyaki is a one-dish meal and cooked at the table side; Shabu-shabu is served with white rice.

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