What is it 'suki' in 'Sukiyaki'??


Sukiyaki is well known all over the world as a representative of Japanese food along with Sushi and Tempura, but do you know that there is a little difference depending on the region in Japan?
I would like to write about Sukiyaki in this article.

First of all, what is "suki" in Sukiyaki??

Sukiyaki's "suki" is not "好き(=like in English)", but a farming tools "hoe(=鍬)".
I think there are many people who thought that Sukiyaki's suki was meant to be the word “like”. Because they are same sound and we "like" Sukiyaki a lot. The hoe was a tool for plowing the soil by attaching it to cows and horses.
In the Edo period, the farmers used this hoe instead of the iron plate to eat the food by cooking it.

Is "Sukiyaki" same as "Gyu-Nabe"?

In general, this dish is called Sukiyaki in Kansai, and it is said that the way to call in the Kanto is a "Gyu-Nabe(=beef pot)". After the civilization enlightenment of the Meiji era, the food called Gyu-Nabe was popular in the Kanto region.
And Sukiyaki itself is a dish that was born in Kansai region. Sukiyaki at that time was a dish that grilled beef with iron pot and eat it immediately. The iron pot used to make the Sukiyaki was gradually called the Sukiyaki pot. After that, the Sukiyaki pot spread to the Kanto area, but people in Kanto came to eat "Gyu-Nabe" using this pot, and in the meantime some people began to call the Gyu-Nabe "Sukiyaki".
It's a complicated but interesting story.

Sukiyaki recipes spread throughout the country

Currently, the Sukiyaki is eaten nationwide, but there are a variety of recipes around Japan.
The ingredients are also varied depending on the region.
In the Kansai area, it is common to be seasoned after grilling meat on an iron pot, and then add other ingredients such as vegetables to eat. In northern Kanto, Hokkaido and Tohoku, Sukiyaki that uses pork instead of beef is more popular. This is because it was a high-grade food that is hard to get beef in this region, and the remnant which used to make sukiyaki with pork still continues.
The tradition of sukiyaki as a beef pot is left in Tokyo and Yokohama, and the beef is put in a special sauce made with soy sauce and sugar, and it is cooked with vegetables.

Sukiyaki Ingredients

By the way, are ingredients of sukiyaki the same anywhere in Japan?
The answer is No.
The ingredients of Sukiyaki in Kansai are beef, leek or onion, chrysanthemum (spring chrysanthemum), shiitake mushrooms, Chinese cabbage, yarn konnyaku, fried tofu, vermicelli, Fu(wheat bran)... Are used.
In Shiga Prefecture and Aichi Prefecture, it is likely to use chicken instead of beef.
It seems that the sukiyaki of Okinawa is cooked in a frying pan in the kitchen rather than a pot and served at the table, and the ingredients contain cabbage, lettuce, and carrots.
In addition, there is a region that bean sprouts and potatoes are standard for sukiyaki.


Sukiyaki is a Japanese food that Japanese people love, but there are a variety of recipes throughout the country. There are also a wide variety of ingredients used. When you travel far away, why not try a different sukiyaki than usual?