i finally went for shabu shabu the other night. while it was a delicious meal, we had no idea what we were doing. for the first 5 or 10 minutes we were looking around the room trying to see what other people were doing, but there didn't seem to be a definite etiquette or procedure. there were dishes of chopped raw garlic, chili peppers, some kind of chili sauce, and something we thought was soy sauce, but was far too light in color and flavor to be soy sauce. by the end of our meal we had put the garlic and chilis in the soy-like sauce, were taking the meat out of the broth and soaking it in the sauce while waiting for the noodles and veggies to cook, then putting it all together in our small bowls.
is there a certain etiquette to shabu shabu? did we look like the equivalent of people in a sushi restaurant eating with a knife and fork?