Shabuway Japanese Style Hot Pot (Santa Clara, CA)

6:00:00 AM

Swish Swish, Shabu Shabu

A little history lesson: Shabu Shabu or the Japanese equivalent of the Chinese’s Hot Pot can be traced back to the early 20th century where the name was originated with the opening of the restaurant “Suehiro” in Osaka (or so Wikipedia and the restaurant claims. But seeing as I cannot read Japanese, I will take their word for it—for now). Shabu shabu is an onomatopoeia as it is suppose to be the sound that your food makes when you’re lightly swishing it in the broth to cook it.

And that, my friends is my impersonation of Alton Brown on the dearly missed show: Good Eats—albeit poorly imitated, but hey he’s the expert and I’m simply the “Girl Who Loves to Eat”. Though that’s not nearly as catchy as the “Girl on Fire” or “The Girl in the Green Scarf”, but one is sang by Alicia Keys and the other is the heroine of a popular series of novels… so I consider myself to be in stiff competition. 

Wandering into Shabuway a late afternoon after being simultaneously rejected by Gochi and En (it wasn’t their fault. They just weren’t opened because it was the holidays… Memorial Day to be exact), we were eager to sit down and eat. I have never tried Shabuway before despite being invited to go by the Finance Department at work. It was an odd combination of reasons, but I had a period where I couldn’t consume meat, so sadly I had to pass on the work lunch. 

Going back to Shabuway, it was pretty straightforward, you chose your soup base, your meat platter and your vegetable platter and start shabu shabu-ing. Fair warning to people who want to share their food, Shabuway charges you $6.50 if you decide to share. So it’s best to order your own plate and go from there. Shabuway has two soup base: spicy miso and seaweed. 

Spicy Miso: You can adjust the spiciness according to your preference, but we chose mild. This broth is very rich and feisty flavorful. It was bold and tangy and works well with the vegetables and meat. However, as we reached the end of our meal, the soup base had reduced to a pretty low level. In which cases, it went from rich and bold to overwhelmingly salty.

Traditional Seaweed: Mild and light, it was very simple and clean (ha. Ha. Hah. Kingdom Heart reference) It was a nice contrast against the spicy miso and gave you a chance to just enjoy the taste of the meat and vegetables. Also we chucked all of our seaweed in our vegetable plate into the seaweed broth so it enhanced the seaweed flavor. 

Prime Angus and Kurobuta

American Kobe and Premium Lamb

As for our meat choices, both of us got a medium combination platter, but different meats so we can have a variety. I chose the Prime Angus and Kurobuta, while my friend got the American Kobe and Premium Lamb. Which one was the tastiest? Hands down, the American Kobe. No questions about it. The marbled fat just sang to my taste buds. WARNING: If you happen to come on a particularly warm day or you just like to take your time to shabu shabu, your meat will eventually thaw, melt and stick onto your plate. Towards the end of our meal, we had to literally scrape the meat into the pot with our chopsticks. Our vegetable plate came with a generous amount of mushrooms, napa cabbage, spinach, carrots, tofu and rice noodles. 

Also, nice to note: your meal comes with two dipping sauce, ponzu and goma (sesame). The goma tastes delicious if you add the blended garlic. Along with that, you have miso soup and a bowl of rice. For those who are on a diet, I say skip the rice and just eat the meat and vegetables and you’ll be satisfied with that.  

What other hot pot-like places have you tried? What style is your favorite?

2783 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95051

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