Recently, Jo and I had the opportunity to meet up with some friends and head into Seoul for some Shabu-shabu. What made the evening interesting, was that the restaurant offered different versions of “shabu-shabu.” Of course this brought about a discussion regarding the origin of the dish.
Shabu-shabu got it’s start during the early 20th century in Osaka, Japan and earned its name from the swishing sound and motion made by diners as they prepare their food. However, the dish dates back more than 1000 years and originated in China. Chinese hot pots spread across northern China during the Tang Dynasty and by the Qing Dynasty permeated the nation. At its core, hot pot meals, like Shabu-shabu have a large metal pot simmering stock at the center of a table. Guests then add thinly sliced meat and vegetables. When cooked, these items are then removed and typically dipped in an accompanying sauce.
This restaurant served Japanese and Vietnamese versions of the dish. We opted for the Japanese option. This particular restaurant, located near Apgujeong Station offered an eat-all-you-can option for the meat. I took advantage of this, repeatedly asking for more thinly sliced beef to be brought to the table. Unfortunately, the vegetables were not unlimited. They were excellent. The sides provided were exceptional as well. All of us especially liked the seasoned tomatoes.
Shabu Hyang is easy to walk to, but for my money, I think you’re better off grabbing a taxi (address below). I’ve included a map below if you really want to walk. It only takes about 10 minutes. The price isn’t too much for entrees (W11,000 for a single serving per person or W24,000 for unlimited). We dined there with a 50% off coupon, making the unlimited meat meal only W12,000 per person. That is a good price point, given that many galbi buffets charge that or less for far more meat. However, the meat served here was a higher quality than I have seen in those restaurants. The staff was helpful, providing instructions on how to add the soup (육수) when we were running low and proving a little help to prepare the noodle and rice courses.
When we dined there it wasn’t too crowded (8p/Friday night), so I’m not sure if that was normal. Overall the restaurant was clean and quiet. Actually, I think we were the loudest there. If you’re staying in a cheap hotel in Seoul in the area and in the mood for some shabu-shabu, this isn’t a poor choice.
This was just a fun little quick video to really try experimenting with doing an educational food film. I wasn’t sure when I filmed this how long it would be, and I think the overall length was just about right. Sure, I could have spent more time on showing me cook and eat – but after one go… how much fun would that be? What do you think about this style of video? Is it too short? Does it need to be in the 2-3 minute range with information about the food history and better reactionary footage about each restaurant? Does a simple overview of the meal better convey the food and then leave the review to the blog? Please let me know.