The defining moment in Kyoto last year was the shabu shabu. I don’t recall the restaurant or the name of it. But I did remember I was one of two people (the other one being my boyfriend) who spoke fluent English.The waiter spoke broken English at best. We fumbled our way ordering our drinks but ordering the shabu shabu was no problem since this was the speciality. Laid out before out was a boiling pot of water with a piece of seaweed, a side of assorted vegetables, noodles, tofu and two dishes of dipping sauces (ponzu and something resembling a watery Thai peanut sauce). It was perfect remedy to my lingering cold. The meat was all you can eat and for two people to eat was only $60. The most expensive meal we had in Japan but worth it.
I haven’t been able to find a similiar restaurant in San Diego but Shabu Squared is the closest thing to what I had in Kyoto. But traveling more than an hour for food seemed unreasonable at best so I tried preparing it at home. I found an electric shabu shabu pot at 99Ranch and thin slices of meat at a Japanese grocery. The condiments and dipping sauces were also available.
Kyoto shabu shabu