Nabemono, (nabe cooking pot + mono things, stuff, kinds) or simply called nabe, is a term referring to all varieties of Japanese steamboat dishes (one pot dishes).
The pots are traditionally made of clay or thick cast iron. Clay pots can keep warm for a while after being taken off the fire, while cast iron pots evenly distribute heat and are preferable for sukiyaki. The pots are usually placed in the center of dining tables, shared by multiple people. This is considered the most sociable way to eat with friends and family.
Most nabemono are stews and soups served during the colder seasons. In modern Japan, nabemono are kept hot at the dining table by portable stoves. The dish is frequently cooked at the table, and the diners can pick the cooked ingredients they want from the pot. It is either eaten with the soup or with a dip. Further ingredients can also be successively added to the pot.
Eating together from a shared pot is considered as an important feature of nabemono; East Asian people believe that eating from one pot makes for closer relationships. The Japanese thus say, Nabe (w)o kakomu "sitting around the pot"), implying that sharing nabemono will create warm relations between the diners who eat together from the shared pot.