“Nabe”

In my opinion, summer is one of the best seasons in Fukushima. Aside from the unnecessarily hot weather that makes you moist in places that, well, have absolutely no business being moist, it’s the best few months to simply hang out and enjoy life. I mean, from fireworks festivals, to beach trips, to the newbies coming, to outdoor SHINE, to beautiful girls in yukatas, life can’t get any better, right?

Wrong.

In bidding adieu to summer and all its festivities, us Fukushimans are spoiled by Autumn and all the great things it brings.

The leaves explode into beautiful scarlets and golds, the weather becomes exponentially more bearable, and weekly snowboarding and skiing “seshes” are just around the bend.

If those things aren’t enough, Fall marks the moment in which I can bust out one of my most prized possessions.

No, Brent, not my snowboard…but rather…

My nabe set!

First of all, you may be wondering to yourself, what is nabe? And why is it so awesome?

Well, the kanji for nabe, 鍋, literally means “pot” (no, I’m not talking about the leafy green stuff). It is a style of cooking in Japan that involves using a large pot to boil an assortment of vegetables and meats. Anything and everything can be added to this pot, but there are a few styles that are more popular than others. Here are a few of them:

Yosenabe: typically miso or soy based stock is used

Chankonabe: the breakfast/lunch/and dinner of sumo champions (best followed by a 5-hour nap for optimum weight gain)

Kimuchi Nabe: a personal favorite of mine which features kimchi flavored broth and whatever spicy goodies you choose to throw in.  Also, probably the most popular soup stock that you can buy at the supermarket.

Beyond being a quick, easy, and healthy style of cooking, nabe parties are an awesome excuse to have a social gathering that doesn’t require much money or preparation. Japanese people especially love doing this during the winter months. All you need is:

  • 1 nabe set (includes pot and tabletop heater)
  • 1 package of soup stock (aka “tsuyu”)

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  • an assortment of meats, veggies, tofu, and other undescribables

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  • lots of beer

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  • lovely people to share with

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Last but not least…if your kerosene heaters or kotatsus aren’t enough, a boiling pot of nabemono can double as a portable steam room!

So what are you waiting for? Go out and buy a nabe set at your neighborhood electronic/general goods store, pick up your own nabe set, and watch the fun times roll in!

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