Japanese people LOVE food. Here in Japan, everyone is a gourmand. It’s no wonder considering how many regional and seasonal dishes thee are throughout the country. And it’s also good news, because no matter where in Japan you go, or when, you can have a “delicious experience”. This time, let’s talk a little more about a Japanese winter dishes you should try at least onceーhot pot. If you gather around the big pot with your family and friends, and stew vegetables and poultry, your body will warm up and your friendship will deepen! That is the magic of Japanese “onabe”.
Go to an affordable specialty store – Torigen Toranomon!
This time my friends and I visited “Torigen”, an izakaya pub that specializes in poultry meat, where you can try fantastic chicken hot pot (‘tori-nabe’) at a reasonable price.
The interior of the restaurant is Japanese-style and very cute while the seating is a ‘hori-gotatsu‘. A kotatsu is a low table with a blanket and a heater while a hori-gotatsu is a sunken kotatsu where you can stretch out your legs without getting numb feet. Sitting at a kotatsu table is a Japanese winter tradition, so this was a nice surprise!
Since Torigen is specialized in chicken dishes, you can try various kinds of Japanese chicken dishes, besides the hot pot. Also, they offer a big sake, shochu, and plum wine menu. If you are adventurous, try “Flamed Fugu Fin Sake”!
It’s hot pot time!
There are no rules for Japanese hot pot, called ‘nabe’ or ‘onabe’. When the dashi soup starts to simmer, add the ingredients that come with the set using long chopsticks. Once the ingredients are cooked, take them out and put them into your shallow bowl. If you like, take a little bit of the soup, too. There will be some spices and sauces at your table you can try out too… it’s heaven!
Perhaps the most fun thing about hot pots is that you can share your food with family and friends. Rather than ordering one meal for each person, you all surround one pot and share the ingredients. I don’t know what it is about sharing a meal, but it’s definitely a conversation starter that will strengthen your bond.
Do you have a meal you share between a group of people in your country? If you have the chance, you HAVE to experience this delicious Japanese version of “shared cuisine”! Since onabe is best in winter, if you are planning to visit Japan from now until early spring, why don’t make your “nabe debut”?
Read about more delicious winter food in our previous article!