Shabu shabu can be served cold. It’s called rei-shabu (means cold shabu shabu).

Cold shabu shabu is carb-free and guilt-free!  It delivers sufficient fiber, vitamin and protein.  It’s low fat because when you “shabu-shabu” meat, you will be washing off excess fat.

It will save your day when you have to endure 100 degrees heat (like I am having to in California now) and are feeling drained, in no mood to fix something complicated, but want to eat something sensible that boosts your energy level.

The main ingredient of shabu-shabu is very thinly sliced meat. Because it is so thin, the key is not to overcook it.  Use completely boiling water, and boil meat only for 10-15 seconds.  Make sure each piece is separated in the water to minimize the time needed to boil. If you overcook, the meat will easily harden and lose flavor.

Also, you may end up with quite some scam if you use low quality meat. Try to get rid of it as much as you can, because it spoils the flavor.


Shabu shaubu meat (about 1/3 lbs per person):

pork or beef.  For cold shabu shabu, I recommend pork because it tastes lighter.  If you have Japanese grocery store nearby, you should be able to find meat packaged as “shabu shabu pork.”  Meat for Mongolian BBQ is also very thinly sliced.  You could find it at Asian markets. Make sure you buy high quality product. When your ingredients are minimally processed, like sushi, you’d want to enjoy  naturally delicious food.


“Must” is onions. Choose good quality, tasty onions that are not too pungent. Farmers market may help you.  Other than onions, you are welcome to experiment any vegetables that are crunchy and can be thinly sliced.

  • Onions
  • Green onions
  • Daikon raddish
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Kabu raddish
  • Apples
  • Lettuce
  • Garlic
  • Sprouts (no slice, obviously…)
  • Tomatoes (no slice, obviously…)

Use a food processor and slice everything!


If you shop at a Japanese or Asian market, buy “ponzu” or “rei-shabu dressing.”  You can also use regular salad dressings, but don’t choose something too thick and heavy such as ranch. I’d recommend the ones that use vinegar, citrus or sesame. Because “ponzu” uses a lot of citrus, you may want to add lemon or lime if you are using regular dressing.

You can also use “ponzu” at home, if you want to avoid additives etc. I will post the recipe next time.

Once you are done boiling meat and slicing vegetables, mix them together and serve.