Leisurely dining to drive away doubts

17 02 2011

Each individual shabu-shabu set comes with a plate of noodles, vegetables and meat balls.

I HAVE been the target of Brother and The Flash’s persistent suspicion that I would be dragging them to the moviehouse to watch “that” Tagalog Valentine’s movie.  I mean no disrespect towards local cinema.  But there still is a thing called choice.  Their suspicion is actually driven by data, knowing how much I did love Kimmy Dora.  That movie’s breakout star is on the third episode of “that” movie.

The Flash and Brother

So to dispel their doubts, I asked that our dinner on Tuesday night be at Healthy Shabu-Shabu, very near the Cinema at Town.  The leisurely pace with which one has to take when enjoying shabu-shabu would be enough to clarify my intentions – just food and time spent with best friends.  Though from time to time I would feel the compulsion to check the screening schedule for “127 Hours”.

The Flash and I had the Fish Fillet individual set each, with a side of Fresh Oysters and more Taiwan pechay (Taiwan baby bok choy sum) for me.  As I usually do, I had the glass noodles replaced with a bowl of steamed white rice.  Brother, maybe not as patient with cooking his food and then paying much for it (just kidding!), opted for his seeming favorite, the Japanese Steak with Rice, Glazed Shiitake Mushrooms and Caramelized Garlic Cloves, and then Ebi Tempura.  The latter was served over rice which Brother generously offered to me.  He just knows me so well.

My individual set!

 

I'd get everything except for the glass noodles which I'd ask to be replaced with steamed white rice.

 

A side of Taiwan pechay

 

Fresh fillets of fish... pink and juicy!

 

Fresh oysters, wet, plump and juicy!

 

I just dunk the oysters for a few seconds in the boiling broth.

 

A fresh Taiwan pechay is picked up from the pile, dunked a couple of seconds in the boling broth, dipped in the sauce, then put straight in my mouth with lots of steamed white rice!

 

Brother's Japanese Beef Steak, served with sides.

 

Really tender chunks of meat

 

Glazed Shiitake Mushrooms

 

Caramelized Cloves of Garlic

 

Brother's Ebi Tempura arrives at the table!

 

Those are huge!

In a previous post, I had this to say about the shabu-shabu experience:

“I guess the best thing about shabu-shabu is that it’s like having a blank canvass that you can color or flavor the way you want to.  At the center of the spread is the clear broth that you shall bring to a rolling boil (when it’s your first time at a shabu-shabu place, the wait staff will be glad to show you how to operate the burners).  Usually, the broth is made from chicken bones.  So free from any seasoning, you shall find the broth to be very clean-tasting.  In the way of condiments, you shall be given a small bowl of the soy-based sauce, the Korean sate sauce, fresh egg, minced fresh garlic, chopped scallions and sliced red labuyo chili.  The lover of hot and spicy food that I am, I’m surprised myself that when it comes to shabu-shabu, I veer away from even the slightest hint of chili!  All I use from this very generous selection is the soy-based sauce which I mix the Korean sate and chopped scallions into.  But the hardcore shabu-shabu fanatics put together everything – including the yolk of a fresh egg!

Once I bring the broth to a rolling boil, I throw in the corn, shiitake mushroom, carrot, fish cake, squid ball, and beef ball.  Everything else would be dunk (for seconds only!) just when I would munch on them.  I NEVER put everything in the pot.  No, that’s not me.  The oysters, I nestle on the slotted spoon – one at a time – and dunk in for about 10 seconds only.  The leafy vegetables, I literally just dip in the boiling broth.  Then, I dip the food in my sauce and eat them with the rice.

Having shabu-shabu is a leisurely dinner thing.  It allows you to take your time and savor each dish component.  But mostly, it allows you to reconnect with somebody else.  After all, sharing a good conversation and a good laugh are key to an overall satisfying dinner experience.”

*I came home to lots of takeaway from Mäsüki!  Good thing that a shabu-shabu dinner is taken at a leisurely pace.  I wasn’t feeling so full and actually had space for one large beef mami.  Yum yum!

A Mäsüki mami takeaway has noodles in a microwaveable container, a pack of the braised beef brisket, a pack of chopped scallions, and a bag of the broth.

 

The noodles would take the shape of the container, especially after being kept in the deep-freeze!

 

I finished this large bowl!

 

Copyright © 2011 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





For before, during and after the movies

23 07 2010

Snapshot taken right after getting my caffeine fix after watching the last screening of Toy Story 3. It was right around midnight.

THIS WEEK seems to be a good week at the movies.  I haven’t gotten around to seeing any of the current releases, but I intend to this weekend.  Everything’s in consideration.  Oops, spoke too soon.  Everything except one of the two Tagalog movies.

With movies in my mind, I’m reminded of my routine as of late:

A really heavy dinner.

Healthy shabi-shabu!

 

Lots of vegetables!

 

Beef sirloin

 

Fresh oysters

 

Extra serving of Taiwan pechay and shiitake mushrooms

 

Extra serving of tofu

 

Coffee (or tea) and a pastry from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to bring to the cinema.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

 

Coffee and a pastry from Starbucks for after the movies.

My coffee name on my coffee cup on top of gifts from The Dark Knight.

 

My coffee name came from a newspaperman...

 

...who turns into The Man of Steel.

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





36 Things

12 07 2010

36.  AFTER THREE unsuccessful attempts, I’ve finally completed the Starbucks® Coffee Company’s Christmas Traditions Promo Card.  I redeemed my 2010 planner at their Las Piñas store on New Year’s morn, just hours after I was treated at the hospital for firecracker-related injury – also a first.

Starbucks Christmas Traditions Promo Cards

My Starbucks 2010 Planner, plus three bags of New Year's gifts.

 

35.  I’ve been in the same job for the past 14 years and two months.

34.  My beverage of choice be it at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or at Starbucks® is Hot Chai Tea Latte served over ice.  Strong on the freshly steeped tea, easy on the steamed milk.  Unfortunately, neither has perfected it, just the way the Sodexho Coffee Bar at Intel Corporation in Folsom makes it.

The very kind staff at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf didn't mind me taking a shot of their fragrant chai tea loose leaf blend. It was a bouquet of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and fennel, with hints of ginger and black peppercorn.

My chai tea latte over ice is finally served! Notice that it's quite milky white, unlike in the States where they put more of the steeped tea. Chai tea latte should be a mug of spicy black tea with milk and sugar, profuse with notes of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, ginger, and black peppercorns.

I've kept these beverage rewards cards all these years.

 

33.  I’ve been meaning to prop up my Americana Wooden Birdhouse at the terrace.  But I haven’t gotten around to actually doing it.

32.  The first time I’ve ever seen a movie on 3D here at home was when I saw Toy Story 3.  I thought the Dolby 3D glasses over my Emporio Armani prescription spectacles were putting too much strain on my eyes.  I didn’t know the lump that was forming in my throat had managed to escape through my eyes.

Toy Story 3 movie tickets

31.  The best motion picture I’ve seen in the past six months is Up In The Air.

Movie ticket for Up In The Air

30.  During flights, I take photos of the airplane’s wings at 30,000 feet.

Took this photo of an airplane wing on a flight from Penang in Malaysia to Singapore.

29.  I’ve never seen an episode of Glee.  But I never miss watching Royal Pains weekly – on its original time slot and on both its encore screenings on Saturdays.

28.  While I prefer tempura batter to be light and fluffy, I don’t mind the heavy batter Healthy Shabu-Shabu uses on their mixed tempura.  My favorite in their platter is the shiitake mushroom caps.

A small portion of Healthy Shabu-Shabu's Mixed Tempura

27.  Gourmet’s Farm grows the sweetest, most fragrant basil leaves.  I bought one packet, stuck it in the fridge, and forgot about it.  Three days later, when on a whim I made my angel hair pomodoro, I got arrested by the unusually heady, invigorating scent that tearing Gourmet’s Farm’s basil leaves emanated.  Basil had never smelled that good to me!

Gourmet's Farm's Sweet Basil

Really fragrant Gourmet's Farm sweet basil leaves ready to perfume my pomodoro sauce.

The actual Angel Hair Pomodoro I first used Gourmet's Farm's Sweet Basil on. Sumptuous!

26.  Mapúa Institute of Technology, where I studied in high school, was near Baker’s Fair where I used to get my favorite hopia monggo.  Nineteen years later, I serendipitously discovered their ube ensaymada.  Simply scrumptious!

Baker's Fair's Ube Ensaymada

Purple yam swirls through the brioche.

25.  I eat noodles using chopsticks from Shanghai that my friend Tenz gifted me with.

Chopsticks from Shanghai, courtesy of Tenz.

My favorite chopsticks piercing through a pile of Beef Tendon Noodles from Kim Hiong!

 

24.  The big Zara S-A-L-E is going on.  There is one item I didn’t get before – because it was still full-priced.  Hahaha!  I wonder if it’s still available.

Zara S-A-L-E, 2009.

23.  One of my principles in life is:  “Never pay full price!

22.  The only vegetable entrée I consistently ask for everywhere is Ampalaya Con Carne (bitter gourd with beef in a fermented soybean sauce).  At Max’s, I’d rather have that than the all-you-can-eat fried chicken they are currently offering at a very reasonable – almost a steal – Php 165.00.

Max's Ampalaya Con Carne

 

At Maxim's Tea House, Ampalaya Con Carne with Rice can be had to go.

21.  I prefer fried chicken to be doused by nothing more than a good Worcestershire sauce.

Max's fried chicken

 

Worcestershire sauce does wonders to fried chicken!

20.  My tea of the moment is TAZO Mint Blend, courtesy of my Ninong Allan Paz.  It’s a caffeine-free herbal infusion described as a bracing blend of mint with a pinch of tarragon.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?!

A pile of this wonderful tea from Ninong Allan Paz!

 

The description of this tea blend alone is half the fun already!

19.  I adore Cibo’s Farfalle Genovese.  This dish of farfalle (bowtie pasta) in a wild mushroom cream sauce with fresh basil pesto is both heaven on a plate and a party in your mouth.

The family size serving of Cibo's Farfalle Genovese

 

Farfalle Genovese on my plate

18.  Still at Cibo…  I always ask for extra slices of fennel bulb and fronds whenever I have a plate of their Spaghettini Alla Romana (spaghettini with sardines in oil, fennel, and red pepper pesto).

Cibo's Spaghettini Alla Romana

17.  My favorite Chicken Tinola (chicken in a gingery broth with chili leaves) is not my own, but my friend Stave Michael’s.

Stave Michael's Chicken Tinola

 

This has got to be the best homecooked Chicken Tinola I've ever had.

16.  My favorite commercially available cookies are Mama’s Kitchen’s Mango Chewies from Iloilo City.

A box of Mama's Kitchen's Mango Chewies from Iloilo City

 

These are the best cookies!

15.  Buon Giorno! at the Cliffhouse in Tagaytay makes amazing Bruschetta and Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad – tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella).

Buon Giorno!'s Bruschetta

 

Buon Giorno!'s Insalata Caprese

14.  Of the many malls, The Podium gets decked in the best Christmas decorations.

The Podium, Christmas 2008.

 

The Podium, Christmas 2009.

 

In Christmas 2009, Victorinox Swiss Army held an exhibit at The Podium.

 

I loved the golden Christmas trees that hung from the ceiling.

13.  Whenever it’s on the menu, I ask for fresh Chrysanthemum Juice.  Here, I get it only at Banana Leaf and at North Park.

Fresh Chrysanthemum Juice at The Banana Leaf

12.  Long before Up and Toy Story 3 wrung my lachrymal glands dry, Finding Nemo had done so seven years earlier.

I found Nemo!

11.  I waited for the results of the voting in the 121st IOC Session, and I was quite saddened when Chicago lost in their bid to host the Games of the XXXI Olympiad (the 2016 Summer Olympics).

One of the placards in downtown Chicago as the city awaited the announcement of the winning host for the 2016 Olympics.

10.  The Highlander Steakhouse at Tagaytay Highlands makes an excellent Salad of Hearts of Romaine and Smoked Salmon.

Tagaytay Highlands' The Highlander Steakhouse's Salad of Hearts of Romaine and Smoked Salmon

 

I served myself with a lot of the smoked salmon! Greeedyyy!!!

  9.  I’ve had the best Chicken Curry dishes at over 30,000 feet up in the sky, on board Air India and Jet Airways flights.  The New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine at The Columns on Ayala Avenue and at The Podium is a nice place to go to here at home.  Besides the curry, I super love their Saffron Basmati Rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala Curry at The New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine

 

Saffron Basmati Rice

  8.  I have three notebooks in current (simultaneous) usage status – the Superman notebook I made, the Cardinal Notes from Mikko, and the Daily Notes by kikki.K from Friendship.  They’re for my essays, work, and all other notes of personal importance, respectively.

MIT Cardinal Notes from Mikko

 

kikki.K Daily Notes from Friendship

 

The cover of the Superman notebook I made.

  7.  More than ever, I have become really grateful for friends far and wide.  Not a single day passes by without me having conversations with Friendship, Batman, and Superman – no matter how busy each of us may be.

Friendship!

 

Batman!

 

Superman!

  6.  I’ve developed a deeper appreciation of Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN’s AC 360O, after reading his memoir Dispatches from the EdgeA Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival.

My book of the moment!

  5.  I woke up with Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning playing incessantly in my head.  Sang it a number of times in the shower.  So it turned out to be a looong shower.

  4.  For three years in a row, Batman has always been the first one to greet me on my birthday.  And there has always been a gift.  I sure hope he does keep that tradition this year.  Hahaha!

  3.  I’m craving for the U.S. Beef Ribcap Tapa & Garlic Overload at Mr. Jones in Greenbelt 5.  TheCorporateTeener highly recommends it.  “Tapa” in this context loosely translates to strips of beef that had been cured.

  2.  I believe in this: “There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore…and who always will.  So, don’t worry about people from your past. There’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future.”

Adidas Samba shoes... my favorite!

  1.  My favorite shoes are still the Samba by Adidas.  They’re the best!

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





And before I used to wonder why it is called that way

3 07 2010

Every shabu-shabu dinner comes with a platter of these – tofu, fish cake, squid balls, beef balls, a crabstick, a piece of corn on the cob, a shiitake mushroom cap, a carrot florette, a wedge of tomato, thick egg noodles, glass noodles, napa cabbage, baby bok choy (a.k.a. Taiwan pechay), and a piece of taro root. I eat everything... except the taro root!

I’VE BEEN having Healthy Shabu-Shabu for dinner lately more often than I would be comfortable to admit.  I guess that is the case with addiction – you tell yourself that the last hit would be the last, or would at least last quite a while before you realize you need another one.  You know that the more you tell yourself this, the harder it is to resist the temptation.

It goes without saying that I’m wearing out my Healthy Shabu-Shabu discount card fast.

Last night’s dinner was shared with The Italian and Brother.  We savored what I can truly call a dinner at a leisurely pace – especially with about three hours we needed to burn before the last screening of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse in one of the three cinemas that was alloted to this international blockbuster.

(For previous posts on Healthy Shabu-Shabu, please go here, here, and here.)

A shabu-shabu meal starts with the broth. Healthy Shabu-Shabu's is easily for me, the cleanest tasting shabu-shabu broth.

 

Healthy Shabu-Shabu makes their own dipping sauce which diners can customize to their taste, by adding Korean sate sauce, chopped garlic, chopped bird's eye chillies, and chopped spring onions.

 

The only thing I add to my dipping sauce is the Korean sate sauce.

 

I ordered the fish fillet set. Soon enough, nine really fresh, plump, and juicy white fish fillet came to the table.

 

The only extra order I asked for was "Tagalog Pechay", which is a kin of the more internationally known baby bok choy (or baby bok choy som).

 

Healthy Shabu-Shabu lost some points in my book a couple of times in the (distant) past because they began serving low quality rice. Now, they're back to serving high quality "almost-Japanese" rice!

 

Shabu-shabu is not the time to hurry. When I eat, I cook the food only when I'm about to eat them. The only ones I leave in the broth for a long time are the shiitake mushroom, carrot, tomato, tofu, and corn. The leafy vegetables get only 10 seconds in the rolling rolling boil.

 

I finished my rice! Though after reviewing the photo on my camera, I realized that I inadvertently left behind five grains of rice. Exactly five, my auspicious number! Suffice it to say, I finished each of these grains... one by one using my chopsticks.

 

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Japanese Beef Rice

3 02 2010

Healthy Shabu-Shabu's Japanese Beef Rice

I COULDN’T resist not snapping a photo of what Brother had for dinner at Healthy Shabu-Shabu at Town last week.  We were seated at a table for four.  His food – the Japanese Beef Rice – occupied all of the rectangular space you see on the photo.  Every other free space on the table top, I used for all my many shabu-shabu ingredients – fish fillet, oysters, crabsticks, and lots of Taiwan pechay (baby bok choy), aside from the standard platter an individual set comes with.

Brother was kind enough to offer me some of his plated dish.  I just asked for one of the shiitake mushroom caps.  It was glazed with a really sweet, almost teriyaki-like sauce.

But the best part of the meal was that Brother demanded he’d pay (So that could be why he decided against the thousands-peso worth Wagyū set meal…  Kidding!).  Fine by me.  Hahaha!  We’re eyeing a steak dinner soon.  Definitely before he leaves for Italy on a long assignment.

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Hot pot wins the game

11 01 2010

Some of the fixings for a wonderful hot pot dinner at Healthy Shabu-Shabu at Town. I say "some" because I had the egg noodles and glass noodles replaced with steamed rice.

TOTALLY GOING against the personality profile I’ve always had, based on the profiling system we would use for a management training at my former company, I armed myself with a list of stores and items to (hopefully) buy as I launched into the opening salvo of the post-holiday S-A-L-E last Friday.  Personality profiles do change in time and are subject to external stimuli.  The recession happened.  Hence, the list.

But the only thing I realized was that shopping with a list was too limiting.  I saw a lot of things that on impulse, I would’ve bought.  But I’d got to stick to my list.  Quite ironically, feeling confined to my list felt liberating.  Isn’t it ironic?  Though a couple of hours later, I found myself grabbing nothing but air in my hands.  Already famished, I decided to have dinner instead.  I thought, shopping can wait.

Faced with a multitude of options at Town, I narrowed down my choices between Healthy Shabu-Shabu and Pepper Lunch.  But having had to stand in line at Pepper Lunch for a number of times already, I felt the scales tipped in favor of shabu-shabu.  For once, “hot pot” won “over hot plate.”  But I have nothing against long lines at restaurants.  A long line is always a good sign.  And I love love love Pepper Lunch.  That’s already a given.

Fresh, plump, delicate white fish fillet.

From the individual set menu, I asked for fish fillet – for a change.  They brought me a plate with about 10-12 of the meatiest white fish chunks.  And the best part?  While I trusted that the fish wasn’t caught from nearby waters – the mall is a tundra after all – the absence of that “fishy” smell vouched for the fillets’ undeniable freshness.  Fresh fish meat should smell like nothing at all – a very faint, subtle hint of seawater if ever.

A sumptuous spread. All I was waiting for was for the broth to come to a rolling boil.

 

I always ALWAYS finish all of these. Oops... except the taro root.

These tender, delicate white chunks of bliss came with the requisite fixings – a couple of squid balls, a couple of beef balls, a slice of fish cake, a couple of slices of tofu, a slice of carrot, a wedge of tomato, a shiitake mushroom cap, a portion of sweet corn on the cob, taro root, napa cabbage leaves, stalks of Taiwan pechay (a kin of bok choy’s), and a crabstick.  Noticeably absent from my platter were the bunches of thick egg noodles and thin glass noodles, and a fresh egg.  I asked for the noodles to be replaced with steamed rice, while I totally did away with the fresh egg.

Extra shiitake mushrooms and Taiwan pechay.

 

Fresh shucked oysters!

But I did ask for extra helpings of the shiitake mushrooms and the Taiwan pechay.  And in keeping with my dinner’s main component, I asked for 100 grams of the freshest shucked oysters.  They were about 12 really plump bivalves in all.  I would use the perforated ladle to plunge the oysters in the rolling boiling broth – for only 10 seonds (I count everytime!).  Yum!  For the leafy greens, a quick dunk was all it would take.

The hot pot is about to come to a boil!

 

A chunk of fish about to be dunked into the broth.

For my dipping sauce, I kept everything simple by just mixing their special soy-based sauce with the Korean sate sauce.  Towards the end of the meal, I ladled the by-then fully flavored, robust broth into a bowl filled with the chopped green onions.

It was so good I was almost tempted to slurp!

The Korean sate sauce and some chopped scallions.

 

The special soy-based dipping sauce.

 

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MuchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





Healthy Shabu-Shabu – and a movie – with Brother

9 04 2009
healthy-shabu-shabu-00-resized

That's me – in my one and only Superman shirt! – enjoying my "free" Healthy Shabu-Shabu dinner!

 

IN JEST, I would always say, “How come a place that makes you cook your own dinner charges so much?!”  Hahaha!

 

Again, I would say that just in jest, especially since I am well-aware that shabu-shabu is a culinary practice steeped in tradition from the hinterlands of Japan and Korea, especially in the wintertime.  And while lately, a television commercial fosters the importance of family meal time, shabu-shabu has done and has been doing the same for hundreds of years.

 

But whenever I go have shabu-shabu, I would always prefer to have my own pot (whether with family or friends).  Which, conveniently, is how shabu-shabu places have set up their tables.  You get your own pot, you ask for your own set.

 

Shabu-shabu is nothing new to me.  I’ve loved it for quite a while.  I even had a phase in 2008, when I had to eat shabu-shabu for every single day, for five whole months!  Imagine that.  It came to a point when the wait staff already knew me and the time I would be coming in, that I was always assured a table would be waiting for me – not the other way around!  I was so addicted to shabu-shabu that even when my 87-year old grandmother was confined in the hospital, I (alone or with my brothers and a niece or a nephew) would sneak out to HEALTHY SHABU-SHABU at Alabang Town Center just so I could get my fix.

 

My addiction was so severe that Batman would understand when I would drag him to a shabu-shabu dinner either at the Alabang branch or at The Podium.  I guess there was even one time when even after we had eaten somewhere else (at The Podium), Batman still allowed me to indulge in a quick shabu-shabu fix.  Gosh!  As a consolation, I shared with him some of my food.  After all, I’m a good cook.  Hahaha!

 

But what I’m writing about now is one recent special shabu-shabu dinner – the belated celebration of Brother’s birthday.  And whenever I’m with Brother, not only do I get free rein in what to order, I don’t have to pay too.  Hahaha!

healthy-shabu-shabu-02-resized

The soy-based sauce. To its left is the Korean sate sauce. I didn't need the chili (the server was new)... just the chopped scallions!

 

I guess the best thing about shabu-shabu is that it’s like having a blank canvass that you can color or flavor the way you want to.  At the center of the spread is the clear broth that you shall bring to a rolling boil (when it’s your first time at a shabu-shabu place, the wait staff will be glad to show you how to operate the burners).  Usually, the broth is made from chicken bones.  So free from any seasoning, you shall find the broth to be very clean-tasting.  In the way of condiments, you shall be given a small bowl of the soy-based sauce, the Korean sate sauce, fresh egg, minced fresh garlic, chopped scallions and sliced red labuyo chili.  The lover of hot and spicy food that I am, I’m surprised myself that when it comes to shabu-shabu, I veer away from even the slightest hint of chili!  All I use from this very generous selection is the soy-based sauce which I mix the Korean sate and chopped scallions into.  But the hardcore shabu-shabu fanatics put together everything – including the yolk of a fresh egg!

healthy-shabu-shabu-03-resized

The standard shabu-shabu platter that comes with every order.

 

healthy-shabu-shabu-04-resized

Notice that the server (she was new) didn't take out the glass noodles. I'm not crazy about noodles in my shabu-shabu.

 

healthy-shabu-shabu-05-resized

The "fat" beef!

 

healthy-shabu-shabu-06-resized

A serving of fresh, drool-worthy oysters! My mouth is watering just staring at this...

 

For this dinner, I asked for the fat beef set (thin slices of “fatty” beef, the more marbling the better!).  The slices of beef are served separately from the requisite shabu-shabu platter that contains a squid ball, a beef ball, tofu, taro root, a shiitake mushroom cap, a carrot slice, a tomato wedge, a corn slice, baby bok choy or taiwan pechay, baguio pechay, a crabstick, fish cake, thick egg noodles, and glass noodles (sotanghon).  Usually, I would ask for the noodles to be replaced by cups of rice (one for each noodle type).  For extra things on the side, I would always ask for a serving each of tofu, crabsticks, and fresh oysters!

 

Once I bring the broth to a rolling boil, I throw in the corn, shiitake mushroom, carrot, fish cake, squid ball, and beef ball.  Everything else would be dunk (for seconds only!) just when I would munch on them.  I NEVER put everything in the pot.  No, that’s not me.  The oysters, I nestle on the slotted spoon – one at a time – and dunk in for about 10 seconds only.  The leafy vegetables, I literally just dip in the boiling broth.  Then, I dip the food in my sauce and eat them with the rice.

 

Having shabu-shabu is a leisurely dinner thing.  It allows you to take your time and savor each dish component.  But mostly, it allows you to reconnect with somebody else.  After all, sharing a good conversation and a good laugh are key to an overall satisfying dinner experience.

healthy-shabu-shabu-01-resized

That's the very generous Brother... Thanks for taking time out from DOTA and treating me to this sumptuous dinner! Hahaha!

 

But oh, there was one time I breezed through my shabu-shabu dinner in 15 minutes flat.  That was when Batman, Friendship and I had to make it to the screening of “27 Dresses.”  Good thing that on this dinner with Brother, we had a good lead time before Liam Neeson’s “Taken” started!