Whenever I dine out with my friends, those who know me well wouldn’t normally ask me where I want to eat. That’s because they all know that my answer would be shabu shabu. I have been an avid lover of shabu shabu and I can have it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and even midnight snack on a daily basis and I just don’t get sick of it. It all started when my grandmother brought me to a shabu shabu place and as a child, I was ecstatic that I get to cook my own meal in a small pot. So what is shabu shabu?
Shabu Shabu is a Japanese hotpot dish of thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water. You basically just mix everything inside a pot full of boiling water and wait for it to cook. Different kinds of spices can be added into the pot for taste, and for each soup, there is also a paired sauce. Shabu-shabu has evolved greatly around Asia. Aside from Japanese shabu-shabu, we now also have Chinese shabu-shabu and Korean shabu-shabu; each with their own kind of soup base and dips but the concept still remained.
Last Saturday, my boyfriend surprised me with a dinner at Shabu Shabu Ichiban, the number one Japanese hotpot restaurant chain from Nagoya, Japan brought here by Avin Ong, Vice President and COO of Fredley Food & Beverages Inc. How authentic can that be? At first, my boyfie thought it was a simple shabu-shabu on a per order basis. It wasn’t until we were on the way when he found out that it was actually an all-you-can-eat hotpot!
There are three (3) steps to follow in ordering your meal at Shabu-Shabu Ichiban.
Step 1: Choose your soup base
There are six (6) different kinds of soup base that you can choose from; namely, Spicy Miso, Vegetable, Spicy Szechuan, Soy Milk, Red Hot Szechuan, Konbu (Seawood), Tonkotsu and Tonkotsu Soy. If you can’t choose which soup base you want, you can choose “mix” which means having two (2) different kinds of soup base. My boyfriend and I have a different taste when it comes to food. I don’t like sweet and I love spicy food. His taste, on the other hand, is completely the opposite of my taste. He likes it a little sweet and he hates spicy foods. So we decided to have it mix, as usual, and ordered Spicy Miso (Yehey!) and Tonkotsu as our soup bases. The Spicy Miso is the best for me. It tastes exactly the same as my fave hotpot restaurant in Taiwan! *happy and satisfied*
Step 2: Choose your package (one per table)
We had a hard time on this step because it took us a while to understand the list of packages listed in the menu. I had to ask a waiter to help us wth our order since I didn’t understand what the difference is between each package. So before you head over to Shabu Shabu Ichiban, let me give you an idea on the packages that they offer.
There is a total of four sets of packages. Set A is the basic package for first-timers and I would highly recommend this if it is your first time dining at Shabu Shabu Ichiban. You’ll get to have unlimited rounds of all the shabu-shabu basics: Beef Short Plate, Pork Loin, Chicken Leg Quarter, Chicken & Pork Dumplings, Chinese Cabbage Kimchi, Japanese Rice, Udon, Raw Egg and all kinds of vegetables. For your free side, get to choose between the succulent Japanese-Style Fried Chicken Wings made with different spices or one stick of Skewered Bean Paste Flavored Cutlet. Free unlimited drinks included too! The rest of the packages includes all the basics in Set A as well except you get to enjoy more unlimited dishes. For Set B, you get fresh Edamame and crunchy Shrimp Tempura. For Set C, you’ll also get unlimited servings of tender yet flavorsome Beef Chuck, fresh sushi and sashimi! Lastly, for Set D, enjoy all that Shabu-Shabu Ichiban has to offer in unlimited servings (King Crab legs included)!
Prices are as follows:
Set A : PHP 588 per head
Set B: PHP 688 per head
Set C: PHP 788 per head
Set D: PHP 1888 per head
(1 USD = PHP 48.3 as of October 9, 2016)
Boyfie and I ordered Set A since it was our first time and we didn’t really know what to order. If you don’t know what to order, keep it simple. The basics are usually the safest to order, and it was just perfect for the both of us! Since my boyfriend doesn’t eat beef, we asked the waiter to change our beef plate to pork loin. Also, we loved the side dishes of Set A! Don’t expect too much of it though. they would only serve a piece for each. We had to share the chicken wings. Haha!
Step 3: Enjoy your Unlimited Shabu-Shabu!
We surely enjoyed the shabu-shabu, but we weren’t able to eat as much as we thought we could. We just had a second round of orders. We were hoping to get atleast third round. Hehe~
Overall, it was a wonderful experience. It was the first time that I found a spicy miso that I really liked. I am very particular with the taste of spicy miso as I have tasted the most delicious spicy miso (for me) during my trip to Taiwan; but the spicy miso soup base of Shabu Shabu Ichiban definitely will make me go back for the other set meals. Presentation-wise, serving the raw meat on an ice-full plate definitely shouts, “fresh!”; and look at those meat~ The photos I took didn’t give much justice to the quality of the meat but I assure you it is top-notch.
Shabu Shabu Ichiban differs from other hotpot restaurants because they don’t have a buffet-style setup. You have to order from the waiter to get a new plate of meat. Do take note that when they serve you the first set of orders, the servings might make you feel dejected. The servings are really, uhm, more like for one instead of two. I mentioned this to my boyfriend and he clearly explained the reason why. It is done so, so that they won’t waste food. They charge leftover foods for P200 per head, so serving the food small for the first set is actually the right move. You can’t charge customers for leftover foods when it was the restaurant itself that served the food far too much. And you also have to consider that some people might actually not like the food served. Think of the first serving as a food test. Which ones would you actually re-order?
To prove that we surely enjoyed our hotpot dinner, here’s some photos of me and the boyfie. <3
Shabu Shabu Ichiban
Ground Floor, Circuit Makati, Olympia, Makati City
Tel.# 7728085 / 5774536
Opening Hours: 11 AM to 2:30 PM, 5:30 PM to 10 PM