I'd like to explain to a butcher what cut of meat is required to make shabu shabu. Can anyone help me?
Very high fat, thoroughly marbled ribeye is a good start, but there's a fair amount of variation. The extremely thin slices are also not something that every butcher is accustomed to producing, but that should get you to the right beginning.
Nearly any cut of meat will work, just adjust cooking time in stock (seconds to minutes)
The common cuts of beef are sirloin, topside, shank. Any meat with a decent fat content will do. Cut as thin as you dare. Chicken needs to be about 5 mm thick to hold together. Fish slices depend on fish variety
For beef, about one hour per 500 g (pound) in a domestic freezer is all you need to be able to slice it thinly
Korean markets sell thinly sliced ribeye. Japanese markets sell thin cut meat for sukiyaki which you might be able to use.
My local super market (Big Y and Stop and Shop) sell shaved meat for Philly cheesesteaks and they’re fatty enough and super thin.
Never never take topside or shank for Shabu shabu. Its disaster. Marbled Ribeye is the right part for shabu shabu.