Hopefully the set theory symbols are correctly specified below . . .
Hot Pot = Nabe
Shabu Shabu ⊂ Hot Pot
Sukiyaki ⊂ Hot Pot
Fondue ⊂ Hot Pot
Fondue Bourguignonne ∈ Fondue
[“⊂“ denotes a “is a subset of” relationship, and “∈“ the “is a member of” relationship.]
The last time I had hot pot, or was it shabu shabu, was a few months ago in Southern California’s San Gabriel Valley. I prefer not to have any kind of hot pot during summertime, personally, but this particular region’s residents and business operators – maybe tourists, too – seem to feel and think otherwise. Like pearl milk tea shops, new hot pot eateries are holding grand openings practically every other week.
According to the eatery’s website, the hot pot I had this past summer is actually a fusion shabu, which I have had countless times, and I might have tried all of the flavored stocks – creamy milk, Thai lemon & lemongrass, kimchi, miso, French onion, creamed corn, curry . . . Interestingly the broth choices almost always include Chinese herbal, and this particular establishment’s menu listed “herbal and floral tea,” which I ordered with hesitation. As predicated, the server brought out a pot filled with plain water and one big tea bag. He then reminded me not to steep the tea bag in boiling water for too long. The tea’s mediocre aroma amplified my disappointment, as did the first few pieces of meat and vegetables cooked in this so-called tea broth. I ended up adding so much sauce that the end product could no longer be called a “herbal and floral tea hot pot.”
In Southern California, there is even a restaurant serving chanko nabe – sumo wrestlers’ hot pot. What I really would like to try are some of Japan’s seafood-based hot pots, for example, Hokkaido Prefecture’s ishikari nabe (salmon), Akita Prefecture’s shottsuru nabe (hatahata), and especially, especially the traditional ishiyaki nabe! The broths of Chinese hot pots, on the other hand, seem much more heavily flavored.
Once I asked my mom why shabu shabu is called “shabu shabu.” Mom said it was the sound of dipping and rinsing a thin slice of meat in boiling water – a cute answer. Later I read in an article that the very first shabu shabu chef was inspired by the sound and motion of his employee washing cleaning cloths in the kitchen sink, thus the onomatopoeia!
Images courtesy of the contributor.