You’ll have to do more than make it look sexy to convince people in Japan this is shabu shabu. 

When the weather turns cold in Japan, people start turning to warming comfort foods to get them through the chilly evenings, and one of the most popular cold-weather dishes is a hotpot called shabu shabu.

Cooked at the table, shabu shabu is simple but delicious, consisting of vegetables and meat cooked in a seaweed-infused clear broth. The appeal of the dish lies in the fact that diners add the raw ingredients to the pot themselves, and when it comes to cooking the meat, it’s so thinly sliced that each piece needs just a few seconds of dipping before it’s ready to be eaten with a variety of dipping sauces.

Image: Flickr/Bermi Ferrer (edited by SoraNews24)

Given that the meal consists of meat and vegetables, shabu shabu is easily enjoyed by people outside of Japan as well, and one person enjoying it abroad is Turkish butcher, chef, and restaurateur Nusret Gökçe, also known as Salt Bae.

Gökçe, who co-owns Turkey’s global Nusr-et chain of grill houses, was nicknamed Salt Bae when his technique for seasoning meat, by ceremoniously sprinkling it down his bent forearm, became an Internet meme in 2017.

Since then Salt Bae has been staying in the limelight by uploading short clips of himself cooking in his signature style on his social media accounts, and just a fortnight ago, he shared a new video with the caption “Do you know shabu shabu”.

Take a look at the clip below:

We have to give props to Salt Bae for spreading the word about Japan’s beloved hotpot meal, but unfortunately the shabu shabu he’s made looks very different to how it’s meant to look.

The responses to the video from people who do “know shabu shabu” were perhaps best summed up in this tweet:

▼ ナニコレ = “What is this?”

▼ This is what shabu shabu is meant to look like.

The problem isn’t so much the fact that Salt Bae is using a deep pot, nor that he’s thrown thickly cut vegetables into it. It’s not even the fact that he sprinkles a palmful of coarse salt into the pot after carving the huge chunk of meat with some PG-rated hip-humping.

That could all be overlooked if it weren’t for the fact that Salt Bae’s meat needs to be sliced much more thinly.

▼ The meat needs to be paper thin so it cooks in seconds.

Shabu shabu actually gets its name from the “swish swish” sound made when the meat is swished in the simmering broth.

Given the thick slices of meat Salt Bae dunks into the broth, the dish would probably be better named “don don” after the sound of pounding. Not only that, but the boiling hot temperature of the thickly cut meat must’ve burnt the insides of his mouth out while filming the video.

▼ The word for this situation is atsu atsu, which literally means “piping hot”

While people in Japan were keen for the world to know this is not how you make — or eat — shabu shabu, for Salt Bae’s fans, this was just another example of the chef adding his own flamboyant flair to a recipe.

And that’s something we can’t really get on our high horse about, given our own cooking videos, which include grilling a savoury Japanese pancake on the hood of a car in summer.

Source: Twitter/@nusr_ett
Images: Twitter/@nusr_ett (unless otherwise stated)
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