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Cook up your own ideas at Shabu-Zen

Chinatown is becoming a misnomer. Not only does the neighborhood boast Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian, Taiwanese and Korean eateries but now there’s a shabu-shabu restaurant, Shabu-Zen.

Purportedly named for the swish-swish sound of paper-thin shards of raw beef swirled through simmering stock, shabu-shabu is Japanese fondue. It’s a cook-your-own feast of meats, fish and vegetables that you accessorize with different ingredients, sauces and starches.

“I couldn’t have gone into business if I had to deal with a chef,” confides owner David Yee, with mock seriousness, to a curious customer. “Here, everyone is his own chef.”

Yee, whose parents once owned a Polynesian eatery on Boylston Street, and his wife, Reiko Kuba, opened Shabu-Zen two months ago. It’s similar, she says, to restaurants back in her native Japan, where the couple met.

Cook meal

They couldn’t have done much courting at the local shabu-shabu shack. It’s not an experience that’s conducive to conversation – at least not at Shabu-Zen, where almost everyone is seated at a counter . . . and yakking on a cell phone. Your main focus isn’t your dining companion; it’s a stainless steel basin of hot fish-pork broth, sunk into the laminated countertop in front of you.

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A lazy breakfast

Late spring is the right time of year to have breakfast in the garden. Sit outside in dappled sunlight and enjoy the warm fragrant air. Sheridan Rogers shows you how to start your day with a light, delicious meal. Recipes serve four unless otherwise stated. Fruit salad Ingredients 1 small pink papaya, about 500g 1 punnet mulberries or youngberries or blueberries 2-3 sugar bananas 2 oranges Ingredients for garnish Pesticide-free rose petals (optional) Ingredients for syrup 100ml fresh orange juice 2 tbsp honey Zest 1 lime or lemon, finely grated Juice of 2 fresh limes or 1 large lemon A* Cut papaya in half lengthwise. Peel and remove seeds. Slice into long crescent shapes. Cut into halves. A* De-stalk mulberries or youngberries, if using. Peel bananas and slice diagonally. Peel skin and pith from oranges, using a small sharp knife, then cut into each segment, cleanly removing flesh. A* Toss berries and fruits together very gently in a serving bowl with syrup. Strew with fresh rose petals. A* For the syrup: Combine all ingredients and simmer gently for five minutes. Remove and cool.

lazy smoothie

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