Japanese Food 101: Cooking and Eating Sukiyaki

Cooking Japan

When I think of Japanese food, three things immediately pop into my mind: sushi, ramen, and sukiyaki.

During my second trip to Japan, I decided that I wanted to take a couple of Japanese cooking classes: one on the art of making sushi, and another on preparing a traditional Japanese meal.

When I arrived at my traditional Japanese cooking class in the suburbs of Tokyo, I learned that my ‘classmates’ and I would be working together to prepare a full Japanese meal. I decided that I wanted to assist with making the sukiyaki, which was the main dish of the meal (and quite frankly the star of the show).

Sukiyaki (すき焼き) is a type of Japanese stew soup that is usually eaten during celebrations and special occasions. The dish is called a one-pot dish because all of the ingredients (meat + vegetables) are cooked together in one shallow cast iron pot.


When preparing to cook any meal, it is important to first prepare the items that you will be cooking before you start the cooking process.

The first step to making sukiyaki is to create the broth for the soup using soy sauce, sugar, soup stock, and mirin. (*Tip: Two good brands of mirin to buy outside of Japan are Takara and Toh-Hi Akasake).

After you have gathered all of the ingredients, place them into a small pot on the stove and bring them to a boil.

While the soup broth is coming to a boil begin chopping your scallions 

[at an angle]. You can also take your block of grilled tofu and cut it into bite-sized pieces.

chopping scallions

Next, boil a small pot of water and then take your shirataki noodles out of their bag, place them into the boiling water for two minutes, and then drain them.


Next, gather your chrysanthemum stalks, rinse them off in cold water, cut off the tips, and place them in a bowl so they will be easy to access when you go to make your sukiyaki.

chrysanthemum stalks

After that, if you want to get fancy with your shitake mushrooms, you can cut a decorative ‘X’ into it (called Shitake Hanagiri) like so.

Cutting Mushrooms

Next, place your soup broth into the pot you will be cooking your sukiyaki in, turn on the heat, and then begin to place the strips of beef into the pot making sure to cook it on both sides (use long chopsticks to turn the meat).

cooking sukiyaki

cooked sukiyaki

cooking sukiyaki

Next, gather all of the ingredients you prepared (noodles, chrysanthemum, mushrooms, scallions, tofu) and place them on top of the beef. Mix the ingredients together using your chopsticks.

Of course, no meal is complete without taking a photograph of it…. (well, at least not for me)

photographing sukiaki

Put the camera down, sit down with some friends, and begin to enjoy your delicious meal. Do you see that raw egg (pictured below) in the glass bowl? …..

Sukiyaki dip

… that is used as your dipping sauce! It is deliciously slimy and part of the traditional sukiyaki experience.


Continue eating the sukiyaki by taking small amounts of it from the pot and dipping it in your raw egg.

Happy Eating


Japanese Sukiyaki

Serving Size: 2-3


  • 300g Sliced Beef Tenderloin
  • 1 bag Shirataki Noodles
  • 1 block Grilled Tofu
  • 1/2 Scallion
  • 4 Shitake Mushrooms
  • 1/2 bag Enoki Mushrooms
  • 1/2 Chrysanthemum Stalk
  • 2 Eggs
  • [Soup Broth: Warishita]
  • 3/4 cup Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 cup Soup Stock (or water)
  • 1/2 cup Mirin


  1. Place ingredients for the broth into a small pot and let it come to a boil.
  2. Cut the shirataki noodles and put them into boiling water for 2 minutes, then drain.
  3. Cut the tofu into bite-sized pieces, cut the scallion at an angle, and cut off the tips of the garland chrysanthemum, shitake mushrooms, and Enoki mushrooms.
  4. Heat the pot well to cook out the beef tallow. Quickly cook the beef on both sides.
  5. Add the scallions and pout in the broth. Then, add the shirataki noodles, shitake mushrooms, Enoki mushrooms, grilled tofu, and the garland chrysanthemum.
  6. Pick bite-sized portions from the pot as the ingredients cook. Enjoy with a raw egg.
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Have you eaten sukiyaki before? What was your experience like?

By |2018-04-30T07:10:49+00:00September 7th, 2015|Culinary Tourism, Japan|12 Comments


  1. Kemkem Apr 2, 2016 at 10:12 am - Reply

    It all looks so good! I can’t wait to dive in to all these delicious food. I think we might consider a cooking class during our trip if we can squeeze it in. I can’t wait to stuff myself with sushi, more sushi, and more sushiAre you going back soon or did you already?

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Apr 2, 2016 at 9:30 pm - Reply

      Oh yes, Japan is definitely a great place to stuff yourself with all kinds of delicious food! I am going back to Japan in a couple of weeks and I cannot wait! 😀

  2. thatgirlcarmel Apr 2, 2016 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    I love sukiyaki although I haven’t had any in awhile. Now I want to go order some! I’ll definitely be trying this recipe in the near future…minus the raw eggs and tofu. 😉

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Apr 2, 2016 at 9:31 pm - Reply

      I think I want to try some here in NYC too and see how it compares. The raw egg and tofu was definitely an interesting touch.

  3. Mimi "MimiCuteLips" Green Apr 3, 2016 at 12:06 am - Reply

    I’ve never had Sukiyaki but it certainly looks good. This is better than any other cooking class I’ve seen. Really cool.

    • Chanel | Cultural Xplorer Apr 3, 2016 at 8:29 am - Reply

      It was really great and personal since it was in the cooks’ home. Sukiyaki is delicious Mimi, you should try it! 😀

  4. MJ Apr 3, 2016 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Sukiyaki is yummy but I can’t do the raw egg. Looks like the class was great. I love that Canon!

  5. Valerie Robinson Apr 3, 2016 at 10:59 pm - Reply

    Wow that looks great!!! Now I’m craving it- it’s been a while since I’ve tried it!

  6. Tyra Apr 4, 2016 at 12:01 am - Reply

    Okay that looks heavenly! I have been wanting to take a really good cooking class so that you for this post. It looks yummy!

  7. Jay | Relaxed Thairapy Apr 4, 2016 at 12:59 am - Reply

    I’ve never heard of this dish but it looks great! I want to do a cooking class. However, scallops are my fave and would love learning how to hibachi those.

  8. Kiwi Apr 4, 2016 at 2:37 am - Reply

    Im drooling! I love Japanese food and Sukiyaki sounds up my alley! Yum!

  9. LaShawn Wiltz Apr 4, 2016 at 6:52 am - Reply

    I’ve never had Sukiyaki but it looks delicious! I love Japanese food when I get it so I know that I would love this! I need to take a cooking class too!

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