Are Hot Pots Korean or Japanese?

Hot pot, a beloved culinary tradition that brings people together, has long been a source of debate regarding it’s origins. While many may immediately associate hot pot with either Korean or Japanese cuisine, historical records indicate that it’s birthplace lies in China. This ancient cooking method involves placing an assortment of delicious food items and ingredients into a large pot of simmering soup broth, creating a communal dining experience that’s both interactive and engaging. As the pot simmers atop the table, friends and family gather around, eagerly awaiting the opportunity to dip various morsels into the flavorful broth, allowing them to cook to perfection. The enticing aroma wafts through the air, further building anticipation as each person customizes their own creation, tailoring it to their own taste preferences. With it’s roots firmly entrenched in Chinese culture, hot pot has made it’s way into the hearts and palates of people all over the world, transcending borders and bringing joy to countless individuals. Whether enjoyed in a bustling restaurant or within the cozy confines of one's own home, hot pot continues to unite and delight, showcasing the beauty of sharing a meal that’s both simple and satisfying.

What Is the Difference Between Chinese and Japanese Hotpot?

Chinese and Japanese hotpot are both popular and delicious ways to enjoy a communal meal with friends and family. While they share similarities, there are some key differences that distinguish them from each other. One notable difference lies in the choice of meats. In Chinese hot pot, thinly sliced steak and pork are commonly used, providing a savory and hearty flavor to the broth. On the other hand, Japanese hot pot, known as “Shabu-Shabu,” typically features the indulgent and flavorful Wagyu beef, which is renowned for it’s marbling and tenderness.

Another contrast can be found in the broths used for these hot pot styles. Chinese hot pot broths often emphasize rich and robust flavors, with options such as spicy Sichuan broth or mild chicken broth. Japanese hot pot, on the other hand, generally favors lighter and more delicate broths, such as kombu (seaweed) or dashi (bonito fish) broth, which allow the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine through.

When it comes to Thai hot pot, a variety of seafood takes center stage in the broth. Fish balls, mussels, and squid are commonly featured, providing a medley of flavors and textures.

While vegetables are a significant component in hot pot across all three styles, they aren’t limited to the familiar bok choy, mushrooms, and napa cabbage. Chinese hot pot often includes a diverse array of vegetables, such as lotus root, bean sprouts, and leafy greens. Japanese hot pot might feature vegetables like tofu, shiitake mushrooms, and radishes. Thai hot pot, on the other hand, embraces a variety of Thai herbs and leafy greens, adding unique and aromatic flavors to the broth.

Yose-nabe, the beloved hot pot dish, has been a staple in Japanese households for years. This traditional recipe brings together a medley of vegetables, mushrooms, meat, and seafood, all gently cooked in a tantalizing broth. Made with a flavorful combination of water, sake, soy sauce, mirin, and dashi soup stock, yose-nabe offers a heartwarming experience that exemplifies the essence of Japanese cuisine.

Does Japan Do Hotpot?

Japan definitely does hotpot! Yose-nabe, the countrys most common and basic hot pot dish, is enjoyed in countless Japanese households. This delightful culinary tradition brings together a variety of ingredients, such as vegetables, mushrooms, meat, and seafood, which are all cooked to perfection in a pot filled with a flavorful broth. The broth itself usually consists of a harmonious blend of water, sake, soy sauce, mirin, and dashi soup stock. Each ingredient contributes it’s own unique flavors, resulting in a sensational dining experience.

Yose-nabe offers a great opportunity to showcase the freshness and quality of Japanese ingredients. Seasonal vegetables like cabbage, carrots, and daikon radish lend their natural sweetness and textures, while mushrooms add an earthy touch. Meat and seafood are also essential components, with thinly sliced meat and succulent seafood, such as shrimp, clams, and scallops, offering a delightful contrast to the vegetables. Every bite is a celebration of the variety and delectable flavors that Japanese cuisine has to offer.

Hot pot meals aren’t only delicious but also provide a communal dining experience that brings people together. In Japan, this concept is embraced as a way of building and strengthening relationships, often enjoyed in the comfort of ones home. Families and friends gather around the simmering pot, choosing their favorite ingredients to share and cook, engaging in lively conversations as they savor each bite. It’s an interactive and inclusive dining affair that fosters a sense of togetherness and creates cherished memories.

The beauty of yose-nabe lies in it’s adaptability and versatility. While the basic ingredients and broth remain the same, there’s room for personalization and creativity. Each household can create their own unique version of yose-nabe, adjusting the ingredients and flavors to suit their preferences. From adding tofu or noodles to experimenting with different spices or condiments, the possibilities are endless.

Source: Hot pot dishes (nabe) – Japan Guide

Hot pot, known as huǒguō in Chinese, is a culinary tradition with a rich history of over 1000 years. China is widely recognized as the birthplace of this popular dish, which has since spread across the globe. From it’s humble origins, hot pot has evolved into a beloved cultural phenomenon, symbolizing communal dining and the art of sharing in Chinese cuisine.

Is Hotpot a Chinese Thing?

Hot pot is indeed a Chinese culinary tradition that spans over a millennium. The Chinese term for hot pot, huǒguō, translates to fire pot, encapsulating it’s fundamental characteristic of communal cooking using a simmering pot of broth.

Different provinces and cities within China boast their own variations and styles of hot pot, each with it’s unique flavors and ingredients. From the spicy and numbing Sichuan hot pot to the delicate and subtle flavors of Cantonese hot pot, there’s a hot pot style to suit every palate.

Hot pots popularity has transcended national boundaries, finding it’s way to Chinese communities worldwide. It’s become a staple in many Chinatowns and Chinese households, further solidifying it’s status as an integral part of Chinese cuisine. This global spread of hot pot has also led to creative adaptations and fusion variations, blending elements from other cuisines to create exciting new flavors.

However, the Korean version adds a fiery kick with the inclusion of gochugaru (Korean red pepper flakes) and gochujang (Korean red pepper paste). This combination of spices brings a bold and intense flavor to the broth, making Korean Shabu Shabu a favorite among spice lovers.

What Is the Difference Between Japanese and Korean Shabu?

However, the main difference lies in the seasoning. Japanese Shabu Shabu focuses on the natural flavors of the ingredients, complemented by a light dipping sauce made with soy sauce, sesame oil, and citrus.

On the other hand, Korean Style Shabu Shabu takes it up a notch with the addition of spicy elements. The broth is infused with gochujang, a Korean chili paste, which gives it a rich and fiery flavor. This adds a whole new level of heat and complexity to the dish, appealing to those who enjoy spicy food.

Alongside the beef, you may find Korean fish cakes, rice cakes, kimchi, and various types of mushrooms. These additions add bold flavors and textures, making the dish more dynamic and satisfying.

Both offer a unique and delicious hot pot experience for food lovers to enjoy.

Ingredients Used in Japanese and Korean Shabu Shabu

Shabu Shabu is a popular hot pot dish in both Japanese and Korean cuisines. The main ingredients used in Shabu Shabu are thinly sliced meats, such as beef or pork, and a variety of vegetables and mushrooms. The meat is quickly cooked by swishing it in boiling broth, hence the name “Shabu Shabu,” which means “swish swish” in Japanese. The vegetables commonly used include Napa cabbage, bok choy, carrots, onions, and tofu. Mushrooms like shiitake, enoki, and oyster mushrooms are also popular additions. The dish is typically accompanied by a dipping sauce made of soy sauce, sesame oil, and other condiments like garlic or chili. Overall, Shabu Shabu is a delightful and interactive meal that combines the freshness of the ingredients with the umami flavors of the broth.

This delightful culinary creation, known as shabu-shabu, is often debated as to it’s origins. While shabu-shabu is a staple in Japanese cuisine, it’s roots can be traced back to Chinese hotpot dishes. Developed in a renowned restaurant in Osaka, Japan, this delectable hotpot experience involves delicately dipping thinly sliced beef into a flavorful seasoned broth. But with these influences, one might wonder, is shabu-shabu truly Japanese or does it have Korean connections as well? Let’s unravel the mystery.

Is Shabu Korean or Japanese?

As the meat cooks, it retains it’s tenderness and juiciness, resulting in a flavorful and satisfying feast. The name “shabu-shabu” comes from the sound created when you swish the meat back and forth in the broth. It’s considered a social dining experience, as guests gather around the pot to cook their own meat and vegetables.

While shabu-shabu is undeniably a beloved Japanese culinary tradition, it’s also gained popularity in neighboring countries, including South Korea. In Korean cuisine, a similar dish called “suyuk” is often compared to shabu-shabu. Suyuk consists of boiled beef or pork slices that are served with a variety of dipping sauces.

Ultimately, the origin of shabu-shabu lies in Japan, where it’s evolved into a popular dining experience. However, it’s influence has spread to various countries, including Korea, where similar hotpot dishes have been developed.

Popular Shabu-Shabu Restaurants: Recommend Some Well-Known and Highly Rated Shabu-Shabu Restaurants in Japan and Other Countries.

  • Shabusen – Vancouver, Canada
  • Shabu Sai – Singapore
  • Mokushundou – Tokyo, Japan
  • Shabuya – Los Angeles, United States
  • Miyama Shabu-Shabu – Kyoto, Japan
  • Shabu Shabu House – San Francisco, United States
  • Shabushi – Bangkok, Thailand
  • Yoshi Shabu Shabu – Osaka, Japan
  • Shaburi – Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Shabuya Gourmet Market – Manila, Philippines


Throughout history, the origins and cultural adaptations of various culinary traditions have often blurred the lines between different nations. In the case of hot pot, it’s journey is no exception. As culinary traditions evolve and intertwine across borders, it’s crucial to acknowledge the historical roots and cultural influences that shape these gastronomic delights.

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