It’s about tradition
Nabe is a Japanese winter dish
Sushi, tempura and tofu are
familiar words to American fans of Japanese food. However, American palates are still missing one of the most popular and oldest Japanese winter foods: nabe.
Nabe is a chunky soup made in a wide ceramic or cast iron pot and served with trays of uncooked ingredients, which diners add to the pot. The soup’s base can be anything: cod, kim-chi, tofu, napa cabbage, noodles and rice.
The reason nabe is popular among Japanese is the style in which it is prepared and eaten. The word “nabe” means “pot,” and usually a family or friends sit around a table with an empty pot on the center of the table. Then, they add ingredients one by one. It’s a conversation piece and an entrée.
“The best part of nabe is that it promotes conversations with the family or friends I am eating it with,” said Chieko Kinoshita, a 20-year-old University of Nevada, Reno student. “It’s fun.”
Nabe is frustratingly hard to find in Northern Nevada. Kyoto Restaurant, 915 W. Moana Lane, 825-9686, is one of few places where people can eat it.
“We have shabushabu or sukiyaki order about a twice a week,” said owner Dorothy Ishigooka. “I think that is because [American diners] do not want to cook themselves when they are in a restaurant.”
She offers the option to let the cook to do all the cooking, but she doesn’t recommend it.
“By letting cooks to do cooking, I think they are losing large portion of fun,” she said. “I recommend Americans to try the new experience. It is good.”
A sample menu can be found at www.bento.com/re_nabe.html.