Eating shabu shabu during summer is the equivalent of eating ice cream during winter: awesome. It’s normally eaten during winter time when the weather is less than ideal and despite having the good grace of living under the 25 latitude my whole life I have become a huge fan of shabu shabu / hot pot. The two are similar in concepts yet completely different in taste. The primary difference being the base that is used in the food. Shabu shabu is lighter in taste, more refreshing while the hot pot varies and more creative in terms of soup base, mostly due to the various regions that have added their own twists such as Sichuan with ultra spiciness or the Northeastern type where super sour vegetables are used. If there is one thing in common, it’s they’re all delicious. Ok fine there is one more thing that is common: they both involve the dipping your goods into various kinds of sauce. Today, I will be focusing on shabu shabu, the Japanese variation. However I’ve been fortunate to try all kinds of shabu before that were mentioned earlier at their locale.
Shabu shabu bar is located in Santa Ana next to a Chipotle. Second time here with mi lady as she took me here the first time for my birthday. I enjoyed it thoroughly so decided to come again for dinner. This time we were celebrating her kicking butt on an exam so I decided to that we should get the kobe beef plate (pictured above) for her while I had the prime beef. I had a few slices of hers and while texture was similar the taste is definitely a lot stronger that makes the other one bland in comparison. I found myself using the sesame sauce for almost all of my dipping. The vegetables were fresh and I learned from the first time they’d make a bowl of udon at the end of the meal with the leftovers so I rationed some of my vegetables and a couple slices of meat for the udon. Yum. Check it out:
No way I could have eaten dessert after the meal after a bowl of rice and ramen. It was a great meal. Shabu shabu / hot pots tend to run on the costlier side for a rather informal experience (expect $20 per person to be full without drinks) but man is it a treat. Most importantly, it’s a healthy treat if you don’t drink the soup. But who can resist the temptation?
Han Hu’s grade: not pretentious enough to have one
Shabu Shabu Bar
1945 E 17th St
Santa Ana, CA 92705