The Art of Shabu Shabu

jacqueline f has something to confess: She probably uses way too much sauce at Shabu Shabu House. The place surely has good meat—well-marbled beef, with lots of good beefy flavor. But the sauces are amazing.

"It's embarrassing the way I dunk the beef in the sesame sauce," says jacqueline f. "I know I'm over-doing it. I know people are looking askance. I can't help it. There is no polite dip with me. I completely submerge the meat, swirl it around, and then drop it on the mound of rice, hoping that enough sauce falls off the meat to drench the rice, but that enough still remains on the meat, for the perfect bite."

There are also beautiful veggies, especially the bright chrysanthemum leaves. There's udon, but you have to be careful when you cook it. "They are almost as hot as molten sugar and for me, rather unwieldy, flying through the air. Once a noodle flung back at my hand and I suffered a huge blister on my index finger. This is dangerous food!"

She throws all the seasonings into the boiling water and drinks the glorious broth at the end—but she admits she has no idea what she's doing. Most Japanese folk seem to be adding the sliced green onions, daikon, and garlic to the sauces. They're also dipping the beef in the sesame sauce, and the vegetables in the ponzu, observes mrhooks. "You can, and should eat it however you like it, but it would seem very odd to a Japanese person to put any seasoning in the water," says la2tokyo.

Shabu Shabu House [Downtown]
127 Japanese Village Plaza Mall, Los Angeles
213-680-3890

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