SHABU SHABU! しゃぶしゃぶ

As my social media name ‘luvniku’, you can probably guess that I LOVE meat!

I used to live in a small town called Beppu, Oita prefecture down in Kyushu, which is a very famous place for onsens. Since it is a small town, everything is cheap and that includes tabehobai (all-you-can-eat) restaurants which are usually around 980 to 1,500 yen. The most expensive place in Beppu is probably around 2,500 yen. So, I usually went out to yakiniku or shabu shabu places almost every other weekend. I guess that was how I got to love eating meat so much.

Shabu Shabu is probably my most favorite Japanese food. And it’s so easy to make as well. To me, Shabu Shabu, Sukiyaki, and nabe is quite similiar. Shabu shabu and Sukiyaki both have thin slices of meat as main (mostly beef), but any kind of meat, vegetables and others can be put into nabe hot pot. For Sukiyaki, the flavor is much stronger with soy sauce. The soup is usually sweet. For shabu shabu, the soup is light or sometimes have no taste at all. You put the meat in the hot pot and swipe it in there a few times, then bring it out and dip it with sauces and scallions. Personally, I love Goma (sesame seed) sauce and ponzu soy sauce. I sometimes use Thai spicy sukiyaki sauce as well when I make shabu shabu or nabe myself. It’s delicious!

These days, there are so many kinds of soup for shabu shabu. Even collagen soup which tastes better than I expected. On Christmas, my friends and I went to a shabu shabu restaurant for dinner. It was 3,500 yen – pretty expensive but it seemed like the right choice at that time since the weather was so cold that night. We ordered to kinds of soup – honestly, I’m not so sure what they are but they look like this.

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The soup on the right side came with something that looks like jelly. It melted away as the water boiled. Then we put in the meat. I think we have to put in the meat one by one for shabu shabu, but that’s never fast enough for us so we put everything. 😀

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Note that when the soup gets oily and full of fat from meat, you should skim in out. The restaurant would provide a small tool for you to skim the fat out. And you can ask for them to fill in some more water.

Shabu shabu is always a fun to eat with your friends especially if it’s all-you-can-eat. I’m sure it’s one of the most popular Japanese food to both Japanese and foreigners.

Recommended restaurants

1. MK restaurant – Cheap and awesome! Lunch: 1,580 yen Dinner: 1,780 yen (this is all-you-can-eat prices for kanto region)

This restaurant is Thai shabu shabu restaurant so, of course, I love it. It’s not different from Japanese shabu shabu, only it has Thai spicy sauce and some other kinds of vegetables and meat such as baby corn, shrimp balls, seaweed wrapped pork balls, squip with pork stuffed inside, etc. Isn’t it awesome? 😀

This restaurant also uses a touch-screen device for ordering. You can see the time remaining for your all-you-can-eat menu and you can choose meat or anything from the touch screen and click order! They will come and serve you. Very cool.

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The store in Tokyo is in Shinjuku, not so far from Isetan. The menu in Kanto is a bit more expensive than in Kyushu but still very cheap compared to other places in Tokyo.  Try the Thai sauce if you go there. Don’t miss out! 😉

2. Nabezo – Cheap all-you-can-eat with several different kinds of soup to choose. You can go pick up anything you like from the counter to put it in the hot pot. This restaurant has so many locations so it’s quite easy to go. I went to the one in Shibuya .

These are probably the only places I can recommend since I don’t know a lot of shabu shabu restaurant around here. Sorry for the short list. Most of them are really expensive so it’s probably better to make it yourself at home. I also have my own hot pot that I ordered from amazon for 1,000 yen. It can be used both for shabu shabu and yakiniku so if you like meat like me, get yourself one. 🙂

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Enjoy eating!

PS Don’t forget to eat some vegetables too!

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Eggs ‘n Things – Worth the wait?!

Alright, so…does anybody like American breakfast? Enjoy going out to a breakfast place in the morning for yummy bacon, eggs, pancakes, and crepes?? Well, I am one. I love a American breakfast! When I stayed in the US, my aunt would take me to delicious breakfast places knowing that I love those huge size fresh breakfast with some warm coffee!

My favorites are probably banana pancakes, blueberry crepes, scrambled eggs on toast and so on. In Japan, there aren’t many diners and breakfast places. The one I know and absolutely love is “Bubby’s“. I first discovered it in Yokohama in 2011 on my 21st birthday. I had muffins, pies, pancakes, eggs Benedict, etc (big celebratory meal). Bubby’s is now very famous, especially among expats in Tokyo-Yokohama area. It also has lunch and dinner menu including happy hour as well. Now, there are some other breakfast restaurants that have been trending for a while; one of that is Eggs ‘n Things–  a Hawaiian breakfast all day restaurant. They have opened 3 branches so far. The ones I’ve passed before are the one in Harajuku and Yamashita park, Yokohama. This restaurant is supposedly good judging from some word of mouth and the long lines of people waiting in front.

Today, I went there myself to see if this place can be included in my list of favorite restaurants or not. The weather was very cold and windy today. I went to the branch in Yokohama since it is the closest to my place. It’s located just in front of Yamashita park by the harbor. I took a train and got off at Motomachi-chugakai where the China town is. I saw Marine tower right away after I got off from the subway. For access to the restaurant – click here.

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I tried to be there early expecting there would be a long line. I went there around 9.30 (the restaurant opens at 9am) and as I thought, I was way too late. There were SO MANY people waiting from the restaurant’s balcony to the streets. Everybody were shaking in the cold. I pulled up my hoodie from my thick black coat and put my gloves on but the wait was still a bit of a torture. The lines moved very slowly and there were only a few people coming out of the restaurants.

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I almost gave up but decided to wait since I don’t think I would come here often if the lines are this long. I waited till I got to the balcony which means I would probably be able to get in soon after an hour (10.35 at that time). But then, I looked inside the restaurant and saw so many clean empty tables! Pictures as proof below! I don’t understand why they were not letting people in quicker with many tables and no reservation allowed policy. Imagine people waiting for more than an hour in the cold while there are plenty of seats in there.

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Then, at 10.50 finally I got inside. My hands were frozen so I ordered some cafe latte and eggs Benedict. They have Meat & Eggs, Special ‘n things, omelets, pancakes, waffles, and crepe menus. This restaurant is famous for its pancakes and eggs menu but I found that meat and eggs and omelets menus are probably the ones I can make myself at home. The meats are simple sausages, ham, bacon, or spam and egg menus are not that special either. So, I went for the special menu and picked Eggs Benedict because I didn’t feel much like pancake and sweet things today (usually I do). The pancakes should be very good according to many people especially the famous strawberry whip cream with nuts.

RESTAURANT MENUS

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Eggs Benedict was 1,100 yen and the cafe latte was 550 yen. I would say it was pretty good. I liked spinach, ham, and eggs together with bread and cheese. The potatoes were crispy and good, too. However, to me…it was not worth an hour wait in the cold. Like I said, many of the menus are simple menus you can make at home and the restaurant was inefficient in taking care of customers who are waiting in lines while there are many empty tables. I do love this kind of breakfast, but probably not enough to wait so long with a “just-ok/good” food. I’m not sure about the famous pancakes but as for this time, I think my favorite place is still championed by BUBBY’s with variety of food, amazing taste, great atmosphere, reasonable price, and everything. I also feel like the prices are still a bit expensive for omelet and meat & eggs menu. I think the whole point is that if I have to wait that long for one dish of breakfast and a cup of coffee, I’d rather go for somewhere with all the right combinations of things I look for which are variety, taste, atmosphere, price, time, and service. 🙂

To sum up, I think Egg ‘n things is probably just a craze. I understand that there are not many breakfast places in Japan so it got very popular but  for an hour wait (or more), I don’t think it is worth it. I may go try their pancakes once just to try their supposedly “best menus” but if I ever go back there, it’d probably be spring or summer..not winter again. But for now, I have some other breakfast places to try. Next one is probably another popular pancake place called “Bill’s“- I went to their branch in Harajuku once at 10 AM and they told me I can get in at 2 PM! So I gave up that time but this time, I’ll probably reserve a table at Yokohama branch since they allow that. Also, another place I want to try is J.S. pancake in Lazona mall, Kawasaki.

Enjoy your breakfast, everyone!

Horse meat 馬刺し!

In the last last post, I wrote about my trip to Mt. Aso in Kumamoto prefecture. I got impressed with Kumamoto and decided to go there again on my graduation trip. It was a very short trip since we went to so many cities in Kyushu on a 4 days trip. This time I traveled with my friend who is from Fukuoka so she knows a lot about Kyushu and introduced me to so many things. When we got to Kumamoto, we had dinner at an izakaya. The food was great and since we were in Kumamoto, she wanted me to try all the famous things there. So, we ordered Kumamoto’s famous horse meat!

To be perfectly honest, it was quite tasty! It was a bit strong but with a special sauce, it tasted very good. As you can see in the picture, the meat looks different, that is because they are from many parts of horse…now I know what you are thinking 😉 ! I liked it and bought a horse meat senbe (thin cracker) back but still, I felt like “I ATE A HORSE”. I think that was the only thing that didn’t make it so OK but I did try and liked it.

Now the question is….

WOULD YOU TRY?

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