Shabu Shabu is Japanese for Swiss Fondu, except you put in thin-sliced beef – thinner than bulgogi (Korean barbecue) and boil in soup, then dip it in sweet peanut-butter . now that is the original Japanese version – first imported into South Korea around 1975 at the small Japanese-Korean joint venture Pacific Hotel at MyeongDong Subway Station in downtown SEOUL . but now in the what-ever Fusion-Age : you have many choices of broil as well as dipping sauce, on various restaurant here in South Korea as well as neighboring Taiwan .
this new buffet-type Shabu restaurant is at the center of iTaewon : at the top of the hill next to iP Boutique Hotel . but their bill-board sign is hard to notice so look for the green Korean sign of Hana Bank, iTaewon Branch which is in the same building – both on the ground floor . just as inCheon Airport was awarded the cleanest international Airport in the Whole-Wide-World, this large place is immaculately clean – the table and floor too, but the servers come very often to take away dishes you have finished . they offer two types of seating : at the tables you share the boiling pot, while on the long counter you have your own pot but no-where to put your bag or coat though .
also this place has a twist, in offering a mediocre buffet complete with a dozen assortment of cooked meat and vegetables – mostly Korean and Chinese, Japanese sushi, cozy salad bar, tastey coffee maker, your usual soda drinks and to top-it-off with instant ice cream 😉 I would like to say that the buffet is a way to make your stomach full before munching on the more expensive Shabu Shabu ingredients .. but the buffet itself is quite good and fresh .
the second twist is that instead of the original Shabu Shabu, where you are handed basket-full of vegetables and a plate of sliced beef : they took the concept of rotating (Japanese raw fish) sushi restaurant and put Shabu Shabu ingedients on the rotating tray .
as a long-time Shabu-person I proclaim : the very last resulting soup is the high-point of this ritual, as it comes from sacred juices of all the meat and vegetable just before . and there are two ways you can cook this to wrap it up (two-person at the rotating-counter is ideal for you can cook the last recipe each):
- (best if you have ample soup left) put thick udong (not thin soba) noodles in the remaining soup, let it boil and put it the ingredient bowl meant for it coming on the rotating tray,
- and/or (better if you have only a small amount of very-concentrated soup left) leave only a bowl-ful amount of soup left in the pot . then put in rice and mixed-rice ingredient coming-up on the rotating tray .
price is around W14,000 for Lunch and W18,000 for dinner . I won’t say it’s cheap or expensive because there are Shabu restaurants in downtown MyeongDong with mix-and-match soup-and-sauce for half that per-person, but this comes with a buffet . open until 1opm but they start to close up the buffet after 9pm .
– iTaewon BLog –