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If your image of Japan is all about sushi, than you’ve got it wrong. Japanese love meat and barbecue just as much as the rest of us, and I’ve got the pictures to prove it! Japanese BBQ isn’t the cheapest way to go–check out my other meat-focused blog for that! Well, let’s begin our mouth-watering journey.

My holy grail of Japanese BBQ is Gyu-Kaku, a franchise that has grown popular enough to have restaurants abroad. When you get to Japan, look for the above sign–minus the English, of course!

Start with thin-sliced premium meat, perfectly seasoned and garnished with vegetables.

Then add ribeye steak, heavy on the mushrooms, cabbage, and whatever else is on offer.

Heap it on the grill and let the whole thing simmer until it’s just right for you–that’s all there is too it! It’s fun to sit around the table with your friends and try to grab your favorite piece with chopsticks, but just don’t burn yourself!

If you’ve had enough of BBQ and want to try something a bit more quintessentially Japanese, I’d recommend “shabu-shabu.” Good shabu-shabu restaurants can be found anywhere in Japan, but my personal favorite is called Don Tei–it’s written in English as well as Japanese characters so you can’t miss it!

Cabbage, onions, various mushrooms and yes, a flowered carrot!

What’s “shabu-shabu,” you ask? No, not a creature from Star Wars. It’s actually when you take a huge plate of fresh vegetables…

Raw meat, soon to be cooked and delicious

…and your choice of uncooked meat, either beef or pork.

“Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…”

Then you throw it a big communal bowl of simmering stew…

“Shabu…shabu shabu…”

…and watch carefully, taking the various meat and vegetables out of the stew and then putting them back in again until they’re just right. As you continue your in/out, in/out movement with your chopsticks, just imagine the sound they make: “shabu…shabu shabu…shabu shabu…” Well, that’s what they tell me anyway! Forget the vocab and just taste the wonder of Japanese meat for yourself.

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