Anthony Bourdain visited Japan many times, but on one particular trip he got to see Japan through the eyes of legendary chef Masa Takayama. Meeting Takayama’s family, friends, and former colleagues, Bourdain learned how the “country boy” from the rural farming community Nasushiobara ultimately became one of the most sought-after sushi chefs in the world. On this visit, Takayama prepared sukiyaki—a dish featuring meat and vegetables that is traditionally cooked at the table—for some of his closest friends and Bourdain while they relaxed at a mountain onsen (Japanese hot spring). Here’s chef Takayama’s recipe for sukiyaki.



7 tablespoons sake
4 tablespoons soy sauce
⅓ cup sugar
1 scallion, chopped
½  white onion, sliced
¼ head napa cabbage, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 package enoki mushrooms (or other white mushroom)
8 shiitake mushrooms
Cooking oil
½ cube tofu (optional), sliced into ½-inch pieces
½ bunch shungiku (Japanese chrysanthemum or spinach works too)
½ pound thinly sliced beef, rib eye or chuck (can be found in Japanese or Korean markets)
1 package udon noodles, cooked
Rice (optional)


Mix the sake, soy sauce, and sugar in a small bowl until the sugar dissolves. Set the sauce aside.

Sauté the scallion, onion, cabbage, and mushrooms in a shallow pot with some oil for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the sukiyaki sauce to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. It should take about 1 minute. Add the tofu and shungiku and boil on low for another minute before adding the sliced beef and noodles. Let the sukiyaki simmer until the meat turns pink. Take the pot off the heat. Serve the sukiyaki immediately on its own or with rice.

This recipe was provided courtesy of Masa Takayama.