Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Healthy Shabu-Shabu

After going around in circles, finally we found it! Healthy Shabu-Shabu! Shabu-Shabu is a one pot meal where you blanch several ingredients right at your own table. Thinly sliced food is submerged in boiling water or broth or whatever then move in back and forth until it is cooked or simply leave it boiling. The back and forth movement makes a swishing sound. Shabu-Shabu directly translates to "swish - swish", hence the name.

The menu, apart from the cooked meals, are platters of raw ingredients. There are a bunch, actually. As you can see above, there are meat, vegetables, sea food, noodles, etc. It was my first time to eat shabu-shabu style so I was very much excited.

It actually took a while before our orders came in so I took the chance to take a photo of myself, hehe. And observe!

The utensils: there's a small bowl on a plate, 2 small spatulas at the left, one with holes in it. A pair of wooden chopsticks and a ceramic spoon for the soup. At the upper right, is a special sauce for dipping or for soup seasoning. It's pretty much an all-around sauce. As you can see there is a medium sized pot built in the table, that's where everything is cooked by no other chef but yourself. Isn't it nice? Then after a while, the waiter came and handed some more seasonings.

One raw egg, a small plate of minced garlic, spring onions, red and green chilies and an unknown brown paste. My brother said it was bagoong or fish paste, but it didn't taste like one. Then our pots were poured with a special broth. I don't know what it's made of but it's actually good, you could eat it on its own.

As soon as my pot was filled, I immediately seasoned it with garlic and spring onions. You know me, I hate spicy foods so I threw my chilies to my mom's plate. Gahaha!

Then, our orders finally came! Here's what we had..

The first one is a platter of fresh cabbage, lettuce, sweet potatoes, shiitake mushrooms, carrots silken tofu, sliced corn on the cob, fish balls, squid balls, white noodles, clear noodle and crab sticks. The next one is the seafood platter. It includes prawns, salmon strips, chopped squid, scallops and sea cucumbers. And the last one is the beef platter. These are fresh, thinly-sliced beef.

As I sip my papaya shake, I took the time to look around. The ambiance was okay. It did felt like a zen garden though it lacked a few more decorations. I love the wheel fountain. For my first time, I took whatever I can and dumped it in the pot.
Noodles and Crab Stick

Shiitake Mushroom and Squid Tentacles

Salmon and Beef

Add a few more, increase the temperature and let it cook!

I suddenly came up with an idea. I will make my own soup version and give it a name. It didn't took so much time for everything to cook. So I came up with these:
I mashed a few silken tofu, folded in some beef, added a leaf of cabbage, a slice of corn on the cob and topped it off with a giant prawn!
"Oriental Brown Soup"
For this one, I selected anything that has a brownish hue on it. Those that I found were shiitake mushrooms, sea cucumber, some scallops, beef and topped it off with some onion springs.
"Soft Soup Fast"
The ingredients in this one doesn't really have anything in common except for the fact that they are the first one cooked among the stuff I dumped in the pot. Cabbage, tofu and squid.
"Mini Seafood Ramen"
And my favorite creation! I had to arrange the noodles in a way that they won't tangle too much then cut the crab stick into thin sheets and delicately arrange them around the bowl and topped it off with a sea cucumber and some spring onions.

I had too much fun creating bowls, mixing possible combination and experimenting on a lot of stuff that I realized I haven't eaten much yet. When I looked around, there are a few ingredients left so I grabbed a few of what's left and again, dumped it in my pot!

I was enjoying every minute of it! Doesn't it show? Haha!

And for dessert, we had Halo-Halo. Yes, it's Halo-Halo. it's the first time I've seen one with very little shaved ice. A serving only had about a tablespoon of shaved ice and my jaw dropped to my amusement. At first I was disappointed but when I tried it, it was really good! The contrast between the sweetness of the banana and watermelon contrasted well with the zest of the kiwi, grapes and mango. The texture of black gulaman made everything nicer.

I really had a blast with my first Shabu-Shabu experience, I think I ate too much but it's okay, I didn't feel too much bloated because everything is boiled, not fried. Most of the time, I was asking my mom, who is sitting beside me if my sea food is already cooked. Honestly, most of them turn out either completely raw or half cooked! But you know, I can say, I have never ever enjoyed raw food this much since sushi. The most time I had waiting for my food to cook is about 3 minutes and for that, I could also say, Shabu-Shabu is not for everyone. Specialy for those who hate sushi but you'll never know! Try it!