February is the coldest season in Japan and it snows even in Tokyo. (It is more than 80 degrees, today, in LA though!) In a cold winter day, we like to have a warm family dinner called "NABE". Although SUSHI is known as one the most popular Japanese cuisines, I would like you to try NABE, if you have chance.
What is NABE? There are a lot of NABE types in Japan. Each rural area has its only variety of NABE, and each family has its own taste. Some people try to arrange their own tastes, such as Korean kimchi taste, Indian Curry taste, or any other ethnic spicy taste. It is easy to cook NABE. Look into the refrigerator and find some leftover vegetables before you go shopping at Costco. My mother cooks NABE when she wants to clean out the refrigerator. Be ready for a portable gas table and put it at the center of the dining table where your family members gather. Also you need a big pan; we call it NABE made of stainless steel or ceramic. Make DASHI (your favorite soup) and pour it into the pan (NABE). Chop the vegetables and add to the pan. You can add meat or fish, shiitake, SHIMEJI or MAITAKE mushrooms, TOFU, processed fish of KAMABOKO or HAMPEN, and anything else you like. Shake (Salmon), Tara (Cod), FUGU (Blow fish) are good for NABE, also beef or chicken are nice. NABE is one of the most balanced nutritional cuisines in Japan. Sumo wrestlers eat special NABE called "CHANKO NABE" everyday. When you visit Tokyo, you can eat real “CHANKO NABE” at “CHANKO NABE” restaurant which is owned by a sumo wrestler. SUKIYAKI is a well known NABE, and it is my favorite. In winter, my mother cooks NABE at least two times a week because of its ease, its reasonable cost, and family warmth. It is all family's pleasure, and we value the moments sharing the NABE dinner. So I love NABE! Yummy! I used to have NABE parties with friends, when I was in TOKYO. Drinking wine, eating NABE with compatible guys, we had nice times. I brought my special pan and portable magnetism table for NABE when I came back from Japan last summer. Unfortunately, I haven't had any chance to use it yet. I don't think eating NABE, by myself, is too enjoyable. I dream of having my own precious family who can share the cold winter with. We'll be eating OISHII warm NABE dinner one day in the future.