Healthy Shabu-shabu: Food wins, kaoko fails.

When I was told that Healthy Shabu-shabu was sponsoring a How-to-Cook Shabu-shabu event, I was ecstatic! Shabu-shabu was something I’ve always been meaning to try, between seeing it on Japanese TV shows and reading about it in cookbooks. Still, I was confident. I knew my way around the kitchen. How difficult could stewing food be?

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Shabu-shabu is a form of Nabe, a Japanese hotpot meal. It has roots as war sustenance—Genghis Khan decided that gathering his soldiers around to partake of a meal by hotpot was a very economical, fast and nutritious way of keeping his armies fed. Centuries later, it was made popular in Japan, where families would sit around a steaming hot pot, swishing meat around, waiting for it to cook.

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All ready for my first stab at Shabu-shabu, I took my place at the specially designed table which were fitted with individual pots. Unlike the traditional shabu-shabu where you all dip in one singular, communal pot, we each had our own electric hot pots. Soup was poured into each individual pot, afterwards, we were directed to turn the controls on and crank up the temperature to 150.


Platters of food soon came rolling in. I ordered the combination meat and seafood set which consisted of a platter of veggies (chinese cabbage, corn, taro), surimi (squidballs, imitation crabstick), tofu, and noodles (egg and fat vermicelli), a platter of seafood and a platter of thinly sliced Black Angus beef. Honestly, it came as a shock to me as food kept coming and coming. Seeing the amount of food on the table, I had a sneaking suspicion that I was going to get pwned that night.


We began with the sauce. “Don’t mistake it for tea,” our host, Healthy Shabu-shabu owner Candy Hwang told us. Apparently, some people do. Fortunately, not me. We were instructed to mix half of our spices—garlic, chili, spring onions, into the secret sauce, and the other half into the boiling soup. After this, we also added a special barbecue sauce. Once more, a secret recipe.


We were also told that to add more flavor to the sauce, we could add an egg yolk in, then use the eggwhite as a tenderizer. This is where my failure begins. I had this bright idea to do as suggested. While the other people were waiting for staff assistance, I went ahead, cracked my egg and started separating. Using the eggshells and my hands. I was separating an egg by hand at a restaurant. *headdesk* And I was the only one doing it. *headdesk headdesk* FAIL!


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17 Responses to Healthy Shabu-shabu: Food wins, kaoko fails.

  1. Aileen Apolo says:

    If there’s one thing I did right there, I successfully separated the egg white from the yolk. Teehee. I don’t cook, but I bake. It was a fun experience, but I got hungry afterwards coz I got stressed from cooking my own food. Haha.

    And great pics BTW. 😀

    • kaoko says:

      Ako I was stuffed! Even hours later. And you look like you cooked well naman, I saw your vid. You were more successful than I was at the very least. *laughs*

  2. nina says:

    Hehe, I was lazy and asked the waiter to separate the eggs for me 😀 That dinner was fun though. See you Thursday? 😉

  3. aoitenshi says:

    I love Shabu-shabu! It’s so fun, but like you, I fail at it so much, but it’s an enjoyable experience even if you’re super culinary-challenged. My best friend gave me a discount card to Healthy Shabu-Shabu ages ago. I should really try that place soon.

  4. LizAndrsn says:

    Wow — I would have guessed that you were dining on a sort of fondue, if it weren’t for some of the Asian ingredients (squid ball? oh my!).

    Nice pictures, and I’m thinking of trying a home version when the weather isn’t in the upper 90’s here.

  5. janni says:

    ahhh….we don’t have shabu shabu here so i missed this sooo much. Buti na lng meron silang branch sa makati. Will definitely try it there!

  6. Tony Lou says:

    i love shabu-shabu. i was lucky that the first time i tried it in gloria maris in greenhills, we were with a chinese guy who knew what to do. basically, he said to just dump everything in the broth and just wait for it to float. hehe! although, i have to say, it’s all in the sauce. cause after a while, everything tastes the same way. did you get to cook fresh noodles, too? the one wherein they squeezed out the noodles straight to the broth?

  7. Mimi says:

    This made me too hungry. Why did I read this?!?!?

  8. Yvo says:

    I don’t even separate the egg, I mix a whole egg in with my sauce. Supposedly you dip the items in the sauce after they’re cooked to cool it down, but it’s a good idea to wait anyway. Biggest fail to date for me? When I popped the “tofu-pop” (the fried tofu that puffs up when you put it in broth) in my mouth a minute after it came out of the broth and went into the sauce – the inside was filled with burning hot broth and I swear if I cared about people thinking I was stupid/rude, I would have had 2nd degree burns in my mouth, but thankfully I went PLAT and spit it right back into the sauce and pretended like nothing happened.

  9. Leki says:

    Awww, I love shabu shabu! Pero it seems more fun when I’m eating it with family, at home. Even with the big family (everyone in my mom’s side of the family loves hotpot). Try it! It’s more intimate somehow and it creates quite a warm and homey atmosphere. When I tried it in a resto, I wasn’t as satisfied even though the food was still good. Hehe! Hot pot for me is mood food. 😀

  10. toni says:

    Waaaah I wasn’t invited to this. I love Healthy Shabu-Shabu. Hubby and I eat here at least once a week. We were given a discount card na nga. Hahaha!

    Happy you had this experience. It’s healthy pa diba? H and I share a seafood platter then order extra crabsticks, fish cakes, etc.

    Sometimes I just throw the egg into the pot for hard-boiled goodness!

  11. kaoko says:

    Ang smart ko no?

    Lucky you! It’s only then that I got to try it. Now I want more 😀

    More hotpot than fondue since you really have to drop it in to cook, while with fondue you just dip it right? Really an awesome experience.

    Heeheehee, parang humahaba na ang iyong itinerary.

    @Tony Lou
    No, we got pre-bundled noodles, but it was still good. Handmade, possibly. The place were we ate had a different philosophy, which personally sat better with me because it sounds the same as when you cook too. You know, ingredients in a certain order, versus dumping everything in. But then, as long as you enjoy what you’re eating, it shouldn’t really matter much, right?

    Sorry Mimi! Hope you found something to eat.

    Oooh painful! It’s awful with the tofu pops because aburaage really takes in a lot of liquid. It’s probably more painful than my thing with the squid balls. *patpat*

    How do you guys prepare it? I really should try making it at home.

    Oh! You can order just additional fixings? That sounds like a plan, I’m taking my mom there sometime soon. I don’t think we can finish one platter each so your technique sounds like a better alternative.

  12. Barron says:

    This post made me so hungry! It’s posts like this that almost make me want to eat meat again. :) I loved shabu-shabu so much. We’d go to an all-you-can eat shabu-shabu place in tokyo called moo-moo paradise. It was great. Love your site, btw.

  13. When I heard the concept of shabu shabu I was not too thrilled because I didn’t want to cook my own food. I only went because my friend said he would do all the cooking. 😉

  14. kaoko says:

    Well, there’s always the vegetarian option. Frankly, I wouldn’t mind an all veggie shabu-shabu. One of the best parts of shabu-shabu for me are the leafy veggies!

    And Moo-Moo Paradise? Wow, I want to go there already. I imagine there’s a lot of cows <3

    Hahaha, lucky you! But it does sound weird, paying to eat a place where you have to cook for yourself. Still, I guess the interactivity can be a draw for some people, myself included. 😀

  15. lee skmt says:

    HI! Nice entry. I enjoyed it. My Japanese husband read this one and was amused by your experience. He actually learned some stuffs, believe it or not.
    While it is fun to look at, I don’t think I will attempt to try shabu2. It looks matrabaho to prepare the ingredients alone, haha. I’m too lazy. We’ll drop by na lang Healthy.
    Btw, my hubby says that the b-b-q sauce daw is Bullhead brand something, basta para daw x.o. ng LLK but cheaper. Available daw kahit saang grocery. (he’s only here for two months yet he knows Pinoy stuffs so well.)

    • kaoko says:

      Thanks lee skmt! Hehe, much as it was embarrassing, I found it amusing too so I didn’t mind sharing all my cooking failures there. It must be interesting to be married to someone from another culture. It’s probably fun learning new things every day. 😀

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