Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Browsing through a magazine I saw an article featuring a new restaurant serving shabu-shabu in Manila. My mouth started watering as my mind took me back to my days in Sapporo enjoying the same Japanese cuisine. Going out with friends for a “nomihodai” and “tabehodai” session, all we can eat and drink for a period of 2 hours. No limits except for the capacity of our stomachs!

As deciding as to which restaurant we should go for meals has always been a time consuming and sometimes mood-shifting effort for my sister and I, I made sure to remember the name and location of the restaurant. Next time I was in Manila, I would suggest we eat there.

Not long after, I was on the plane to Manila. Early on that day I excitedly texted my sister informing her of my choice for dinner. Very unlike previous visits where in I would just sit in the car and let her decide. My flight was 1 hour delayed. What would have been just in time for dinner was now a late one, we were both hungry when I arrived. And the traffic on a pay day wasn’t helping. Good thing the restaurant wasn’t that far away from the airport.

Upon arrival at the restaurant I was exhilirated but at the same time saddened to see that there was a line waiting outside. Exhilirated because the line could mean that the food is really good. Saddened because my stomach was making sounds already. (^^;) My sister and W, her friend from high school, suggested we just eat instead right next door at Crustacia, a good chinese cuisine resto we’ve already tried before. I, wanting to eat Shabu-Shabu, however, did not budge that easily. I stalled and stalled until finally a table was available for us. Yatta! (Victory!)

We didn’t have to wait that long for food to be served because in shabu-shabu you cook your own food. The cooking experience is suppose to make the meal more enjoyable. Traditionally, a very thinly sliced meat or a piece of vegetables is cooked by submerging it in a pot of boiling hot water and swishing it back and forth several times. (The swishing sound is where the dish got its name.) Once cooked, it is then dipped into a special sauce before being eaten. But recently, it is acceptable to just dip everything inside the pot and leave them to cook. In this particular restaurant they introduced a new concept to the shabu-shabu experience. Instead of just one big pot for everyone, they provided each diner with a small pot to cook his/her meal. A good move, I think, considering that Filipinos are somewhat particular about sharing the same bowl with other people. But more importantly, this allows each diner to have his/her own cooking experience. ^^

My victory however was short lived. The dish was no way near the ones I tasted in Japan. The sauce was too thick and spicy (flavorful). The secret to this dish, I believe, is in the dipping sauce. As the meat and vegetables are not seasoned, most of the taste comes from the sauce. And like most Japanese dishes, it has to have just the right amount of flavor. Just like a bag of Holy Kettle Corn popcorn, every bite makes you wanna grab another handful because you want to sustain the flavor. There is not enough flavor in one bite to satisfy your palate so you keep wanting for more.

In no time, the looks of disgust were evident on my sister and W’s face. My sister barely ate at all! W experimented with his pot and somehow was able to salvage it. He said that it tasted better after putting a portion of the sauce and leaving some of the ingredients to boil in the stock. I found the dish tolerable. It wasn’t bad but it wasn’t good as well. I went on eating, almost finishing the meat portions single-handedly! It could just have been my hunger, or my pride of not wanting to give in, or maybe a little bit of both. Hehehe (^o^)/
The experience wasn’t as encouraging as it should have been that we even forgot all about the dessert that was included in our set meal. Sayang! (What a waste!) It could have been the best part right next to the sweet corn.

At the end of the day, we Filipinos just say “Let’s just charge it to experience.” ^^

I believe that someday all our experiences will take flavor and become a great shabu-shabu.


Having a sleek DLSR camera has encourage me to take the window seat during plane rides. Check out my Amidst the Clouds pictures.

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  1. This goes to all my friends in Japan ^^

    To those who took risks in hopes of a better life

    Kay, Rose, Roms, Ranz! Ganbatte in Osaka!

    Grace goodluck in Dubai!

    Epinoys! Just Nine! Take care

    HMP,Hokpins,SALSAs! I miss you guys! ^^

    Che and Gems! Have fun in Singapore!

    Krn! Uwi ka na! hehehe

    Vanny! It's time for HMP juniors! Bilisan na! ^^

  2. hi steph! happy birthday to ur mom. miss na ta mo diha. thanks for mentioning ma name down here...

  3. hi rose!
    musta byahe? how's first day of work? ayo-ayo mo diha! update nya sa blogs ha! ^^ Actually thought of you and kay when i wrote the blog. ^^

  4. Epinoys? JustNine? Kami yun! Hehe.

  5. @ enrico!

    tayo yun! dati! hahaha ^^
    ako epinoy pa rin pala ... ever loyal. dapat may loyalty award na ako! :) sana makabalik pa ako ng japan one last time ^^ pasyal mo ako ha. hihihi


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