Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Culinary Adventures

Last time I tried Shabu Shabu, I was in Tokyo with a former boss, his family, and my friends and travel companions. There was kobe beef with an all-you-can-eat option, and a real-life sumo wrestler eating his weight in the stuff. 

I found the experience frustrating, tasteless, and overly complex. Boiling beef doesn't bring out it's most delicate flavors. Certainly not boiling it in chicken stock, or whatever that mild base broth is. Most of the vegetables are entirely too bland to flavor the broth, and most of the dips are not ... palatable. 

Let me explain. Shabu Shabu is a Japanese culinary experience in which you are presented with a pot of boiling broth on a burner in the center of your table. You also get plates heaping with veggies, a plate of meat of your choice, and a set of implements, like a small net, chopsticks, and so forth, with which to retrieve your food from the broth.

You then basically throw things in the soup, wait for them to cook, fish them out, and dip them in one of the sauces they give you, which are basically "soy" and "dear god, what is that flavor of dead fish?"  

You end up spending half the time fishing around for the carrot you swore you had - and the other half wishing something were more or less cooked before you extracted it. It's frustrating to hold conversation, since your bok choy is being boiled to death, so you can't take 3 minutes to finish your story before retrieving it. 

I wasn't keen on Shabu Shabu.

Last night, I tried it again. It's been 5 years. What do I know - maybe it's great! I was a different person in 2004. I believed in corporate america. I didn't ever run. Who knows?

And the experience was exactly the same. 

1 comment:

hornett said...

Yeah, I can't get to excited about paying to cook my own food.