Japanese winter specialties 冬の食べ物

Japanese winter specialties

As the temperatures drop, what better than a good steaming dish to warm up? Discover the winter culinary specialties of Japan!

Ishikari nabe



Sukiyaki is a traditional winter dish, officially introduced in the Meiji era (1868-1912). It consists of a fondue of slices of meat (beef), accompanied by vegetables and various ingredients, all cooked in a sweet broth (soy sauce, sugar and mirin ) . Finally, it is customary to dip cooked food in a small bowl of raw egg yolk before eating it! Most of the time Sukiyaki is served in a metal pot. You can taste this Japanese dish in winter and especially at the end of the year, during the bônenkai ("party to forget the past year"), celebrated between colleagues or friends.

homemade sukiyaki

Dave Nakayama


  • Shabu Shabu

The name Shabu shabu comes from the onomatopoeia " shabu shabu ", corresponding to the noise that food makes once immersed in hot broth. Although Sukiyaki and Shabu shabu are similar, the latter is less sweet and more flavorful . Shabu shabu is said to be an ancestor of Chinese fondue . This dish is cooked and served in a ceramic dish, the donabe . The ingredients are served raw on plates, so that everyone can cook them according to their desires. The broth of Shabu shabu is lighter than that of Sukiyaki; it consists of a light recipe with konbu seaweed. Finally, once cooked, the food is to be dipped in two sauces: ponzu (with a tangy citrus taste) and gomadare (sesame sauce). When all the ingredients have been eaten, it is possible to add udon noodles to the broth.

The utensils and ingredients needed for a good shabu shabu

Oden, the Japanese stew



  • Kiritanpo

Kiritanpo is a specialty of Akita Prefecture, in the north of the island of Honshu. This local stew is made with local chicken, hinai-jidori, vegetables, charcoal- grilled rice sticks , Japanese negi leek, maitake mushrooms, Japanese seri parsley and burdock.


  • Tarabagani, the Hokkaido crab


Mid-winter is the season of Tarabagani, called Kamchatka king crab in French ( Paralithodes camtschaticus). It is the most expensive and sought after crab in the world. In France, it sells for an average of 250 euros per kilo. It can be eaten as sushi (cooked or raw), chirashi , boiled   or barbecue . In winter, we recommend Hokkaido's specialty: crab nabe , kani nabe .



See : Eating crab in Japan

Tarabagani, the Hokkaido crab

Yoshimasa Yamaichi

Barbecue de crabe Tarabagani

Tarabagani crab barbecue

Yuichi Sakuraba


Winter is also the season of the famous fugu fish, known for its deadly venom. A state certificate is required to open a fugu restaurant in Japan. The fish is eaten boiled , snout included, plunged into a nabe pot with mushrooms, vegetables, tofu , all washed down with a glass of hirezake (a sake whose bottle contains a fin of fugu) or in translucent sashimi , forming a winter flower in the plate.

Par réflexe défensif, le fugu se gonfle lorsqu'il se sent attaqué.

As a defensive reflex, the fugu swells up when it feels attacked.


The slats of fugu (sashimi) are a delicacy very refined.

Fugu strips (sashimi) are a very refined dish.


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