Limitless shabu-shabu for less than the price of a fast food beef bowl.
Since 1 July, a small corner of the Chayamachi district in the downtown Umeda area of Osaka has been holding a huge deal: All-You-Can-Eat-and-Drink Alley. For a flat rate of 3,500 yen (US$28) you can have three hours to run wild and eat as much as you want from eight different restaurants in the alley, going back and forth among them freely.
Still not enough? Okay picky pants, how does also having all-you-can-drink of any drink from coffee to wine sound? We thought that would convince you! Let’s take a quick look at what’s in store (or stores rather) for you there.
“No pants hot-pot” enjoyed a brief spell of notoriety in the mid-90s when it emerged that Japanese Finance Ministry officials had demanded that bankers take them to a no-pan shabu shabu restaurant – where waitresses wear short skirts and no underwear – as a form of bribe.
After that scandal, no-pan shabu shabu disappeared, to be replaced by new trends in oddball sexy café entertainment. But the team in our Tokyo office felt it was about time this important element of Japanese culture was revived – no, improved! So we turned our office into a shabu shabu parlour for one night only, as two of our reporters enjoyed a night of bromance, bonding, and beef.
Warning: While there’s nothing full-frontal coming up, things are about to get NSFW.
As the weather gets chillier, shabu-shabu becomes an ideal dinner. Think delicately thin slices of meat cooked to your liking in a bubbling broth, then dipped in your favorite sauce and delivered direct to your tummy. What could possibly be better than a satisfying meal of all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu, you might wonder? Well, we hit jackpot when we found this restaurant in Yokohama which serves all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu and sushi, all for a low, low price of 1,799 yen (US$16).
In the spirit of gourmet discovery, we wasted no time in bringing along our Japanese-food-loving American friend Ike for some face-stuffing.
In Thailand there is a chain of conveyor belt sushi and shabu shabu restaurants called Shabushi, operated by the company Oishi Group. Shabu-shabu is a Japanese dish similar to fondue, where vegetables and wafer-thin slices of meat are cooked in a pot of boiling broth at the table. One week ago, on July 4 at the Central World trade facility in Bangkok, Oishi Group held the opening ceremonies for their second annual Shabu Lympics, a shabu-shabu eating contest taking place at select branches of Shabushi nation-wide.