- Mayuka Ueno
Chankonabe (yosenabe) and mizutaki are some of Japan’s unique hot pot dishes that will grow on you the more you know about them!
Boiling various ingredients and eating them while they are piping hot is the real pleasure of pot dishes. These pot dishes also boast of containing well-balanced nutrition in that you can eat meat, fish and vegetables in one meal. Chankonabe is a hot pot dish that is heavy on the protein as it was originally meant for sumo wrestlers, while yosenabe is the most common type of hot pot dish wherein all the ingredients are put in the pot. There is also mizutaki (chicken meat and vegetables stewed in a pot on a dining table).
1. What are chankonabe and yosenabe?
Chankonabe is known as the food eaten by sumo wrestlers every day to bulk them up. In chankonabe, meat, fish, vegetables and large amounts of other ingredients are cooked all at once. Instead of eating the ingredients by dipping them in a sauce, when you eat chankonabe, you basically eat the ingredients straight from the pot as its soup is already seasoned and the flavors have been infused into the ingredients. There are no fixed ingredients and required flavors when making chankonabe, so it is one type of yosenabe, which is what the genre of hot pot dishes in which various ingredients are put in a pot filled with soup stock is called.
How to Eat Chankonabe
Once the pot boils, start putting in the main ingredients, followed by root vegetables and other vegetables that are hard to cook, then tofu and other ingredients that break easily, and finally leafy vegetables and other ingredients that take a short time to cook. Cooking the pot quickly over high heat will cause the flavors of the ingredients to escape, so boil the ingredients over medium heat. When all the ingredients have been cooked, eat by starting with the ingredients that you like best. If you think the flavor is intense, you can add more ingredients or water, while if you think it is bland, you can adjust the flavor with condiments and seasonings. And just like what is done with the other pot dishes, after you have eaten the chankonabe, finish off your meal with rice or noodles.
Restaurants where you can eat chankonabe #1: Chankonabe Edosawa
Chankonabe Edosawa is famous for its affordable prices and menu that makes it feel like a restaurant bar. Here, you can try meat chankonabe, seafood chankonabe and the Dosukoi Chankonabe that lavishly combines both ingredients. There's also the slightly different salty miso nabe using local beef and grilled chankonabe. The inside of the restaurant is also quite magical with an atmosphere that would make you feel like you're in the middle of a sumo stable. This restaurant is great after the grand sumo tournament and for those who like sumo wrestling. The prices of dishes here vary depending on the type of dish and size of serving, but lunch for one person would range from 1,300 JPY to around 2,000 JPY, while dinner will cost around 1,300 JPY to 4,000 JPY.
Restaurants where you can try chankonabe #2: Chanko Shibamatsu
Chanko Shibamatsu is famous even among other chankonabe restaurants for the volume and delicious taste of its dishes. Customers can choose from four flavors of chankonabe - miso, soy sauce, salt and kimchi - but their miso chankonabe has been the overwhelming favorite thanks to its consistent taste since the restaurant was opened. Thanks to the mild and light taste of white miso soup infused with the broth of chicken tsukune (meatballs), seafood, and vegetables, it's so delicious that you can eat several bowls! This restaurant is also popular for its yakitori (grilled chicken skewers), so to those who love chicken, you should definitely check out this place. The prices of its dishes vary depending on the menu, but meal for one would cost around 2,500 JPY here.
2. What kind of food is mizutaki?
A hot pot dish cooked with water is called "mizutaki." The ingredients and procedure for making this dish differ in each region, but it mainly uses chicken meat, cabbage, Chinese cabbage, and spring onions, and is basically eaten by dipping the cooked ingredients in ponzu (soy sauce with citrus) and other sauces. Mizutaki uses relatively simpler ingredients and flavors compared to other hot pot dishes, and it is the kind of dish that will let you enjoy the delicious taste of chicken to your heart's content.
How to Eat Mizutaki
Cook the chicken in water, add the vegetables you want, and then start eating as soon as the soup boils. The soup of the mizutaki will be full of the good taste of chicken, so we also recommend savoring the soup alone. Now similar to the other hot pot dishes, mizutaki is also enjoyed with rice and noodles at the end.
Restaurants where you can try mizutaki #1: Hakata Hanamidori
Hakata Hanamidori has built its reputation on its original mizutaki that uses Hanamidori-brand chicken that was raised at their own poultry farm and its homemade ponzu. The thick soup made with chicken bones is filled with collagen, so it is tremendously popular especially among women. Aside from mizutaki, this restaurant also serves motsunabe (hot pot dish made from offal), mentaiko (spiced cod roe), and other specialty dishes from Hakata, Fukuoka. The prices of its dishes vary depending on the type of dish and serving size, but a meal for one at this restaurant would normally cost somewhere between 3,500 JPY and 4,500 JPY.
Restaurants where you can try mizutaki #2: Mizutaki Shimizu
Located along the Meguro River in Nakameguro, Mizutaki Shimizu is a restaurant that has become famous for serving mizutaki with an ambiance that resembles machiya-style traditional buildings in Kyoto. Its mizutaki, which has a special soup that is made by cooking chicken handpicked by the restaurant owner for six hours, is known for its deliciousness that will make you drink several bowls of soup alone. Here, you can choose between chicken with or without bones, and if you pick boneless chicken, you can relish the delicious taste of the meat in shabu-shabu style. The prices of dishes will depend on the type of dish and serving size, but a meal for one will cost around 2,000 JPY to about 3,000 JPY.
What do you think? Chankonabe and mizutaki offer plenty of delicious ingredients as well as amazing soups so you can enjoy everything served to the last drop. Without a doubt, a hot pot dish like these will warm not just your body, but your spirit, too.
*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.
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