The weather might just start chilling down in the beginning of September in most areas in the world. For those who enjoy warmth in a chilling weather, hotpot is a wonderful type of meal to restore the heat around your body and have friends come over to be your company.
There are two typical types of hot-pot based dishes in Japan. One is the famous Shabu Shabu (しゃぶしゃぶ). It comes with thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water. The food is served raw and cooked piece by piece by the diner at the table. Shabu Shabu is said coming from Chinese hotpot and almost the same as its origin. However, Chinese people are used to share a huge pot together while Shabu Shabu may serve with individual size pot by person. To add flavors to the raw food materials, soup base and dipping sauce after the food is cooked are important to Shabu Shabu. Interestingly, Japanese people prefer a clear soup base so most flavor come from the sauces, including Ponzu sauce and sesame sauce as the most common ones.
The other staple hotpot dish is Sukiyaki, which is originally from Japan. Same as Shabu Shabu, Sukiyaki contains thinly sliced beef or other types of meat. However the meat is to be cooked fully rather than just boiled to whatever degree the customer likes. The meat is cooked in a shallow pan and features shirataki noodles, green onions, mushrooms, carrots, and other vegetables cooked in a salty-sweet sauce. The freedom of adding whatever people want in the hotpot only exits in Shabu Shabhu. All Sukiyaki ingredients are then dipped in a separate dish containing a scrambled raw egg and eaten, usually go with a soy sauce-based sauce.
As two dishes are very similar in the way of cooking and share similar equipment and utensils, they can be found in one single restaurant sometimes. Buffet like all-you-can-eat style is popular in hot pot restaurants like the following one in Tokyo Nabezo (鍋ぞう). Video credit to Destination japan