Nabe is old-style cooking consisting of a stew served in its pot. In restaurants, nabemono is generally prepared on the spot, with diners adding ingredients to the broth. The stew is made from a variety of ingredients. The stews can be flavored with chicken, beef, fish, shellfish, and a variety of vegetables. The quick cooking process ensures that the ingredients retain their flavor.

Diners serve themselves from a communal pot, making the nabe experience ideal for groups. Ingredients are generally added in the order of cooking length (meats first, herbs last).