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.
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.
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!
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