I received many requests on Shabu Fondue as the best place to get Hot Pot, an Asian Style of cooking which involves a giant pot of flavorful broth and a bunch of raw ingredients. You put these raw ingredients in the broth and after a certain amount of time, eat it. There are a decent amount of rules in hot pot but for me it’s just put stuff in, then eat when it’s ready.
This restaurant is located pretty far North right next to Red Thai, which I believe both restaurants are owned by the same people. The sign is very small so it can be hard to find for some people.
We went with a group of twelve and sat on this long table in the center of the room. You can see a jade Buddha looking at us. Splitting into groups of 4, we sat down with the burner centered towards us.
Our table ordered the “Ma La” Spicy broth and the Herbal broth. These were placed in a pot that had a giant metal divide in the middle.
Coincidentally, I learned the words “Ma-La” via an interpretive Chinese cultural dance a few weeks back. “Ma-La” is this numbing effect you get when you eat Sichuwan peppercorns, which were very prevalent in the broth. The broth was pretty darn spicy but it you are a daredevil like me, the real heat is in the chilies and peppercorns. The herbal broth did its job but most of my food came from the spicy pot.
We ordered and assortment of many things including winter squash, taro root, assorted mushrooms, bok choy, watercress, shrimp, pork belly, beef rolls, beef and fish “puffs” (we call them fish balls or beef balls), udon, egg noodles and rice disk noodle things.
Some things were worth it, others were not but this was a trial and error deal and also a group effort.
Overall, I could tell you that you should definitively order the beef and pork belly. The “puffs” are super cheap as well. You get amazing value from the leafy vegetables such as spinach, watercress and bok choy. The noodles were my favorite part of the hot pot but no one else seemed to enjoy them.
I wouldn’t recommend the shrimp (cooks too fast) or the winter squash and taro (cooks to slow and not worth the price per lb).
If you’ve never had hot pot, you have two types of sauces: a peanut based sauce and a soy sauce based sauce. You can eat them in multiple ways but I ended up pouring it in a bowl and dipping the ea tin it. Later on, when the soup was stew, I put it in the bowl with the sauce.
Another thing about hot pot is that when everything is cooked for a bit, the broth in the pot becomes amazingly flavorful because of all of the stuff in there. Scoop some stuff out and enjoy!
Shabu Fondue has a nice environment, but there are some things I didn’t like. For one, the sign is super small when trying to find the place. It’s probably the size of your head.
Another big problem is that the place is too dark. It was hard to find pictures and I actually had to ask a friend to shine their phone flashlight so I could take a good picture. Luckily, they turned out pretty good.
The technology used to heat the hot pot was super cool! It was one of those induction stoves where you can control the temperature digitally.
Service is decent but they are not very good at refilling water. What’s nice is that if you’re running out of broth, they refill your pot.
Be very careful ordering stuff of the long paper menu because there is a high possibility you will spend more money than you are supposed to! The first set of four in our group spent about $20 per person, the second set of people spent about $28, and our group of four spent about $30. It is very easy to spend over $50 if you don’t pay attention to what you are getting.
You get this huge list with plenty of options separated into categories. Meat, Vegetable, and Starches with about 10 or more choices on each category. With this many options, it’s impossible to order all of them and you can easily customize your selection. If you’re hungry, you can always ask for another slip and ask for more.
The price of the item relates to the quality of the dish. For example, you could order kobe beef for about $9.00 compared to the sliced beef’s $3.00 but you’re gambling how much meat you’re getting for higher quality. For some, this is worth it but for the budget eater, the cheapest items will do.
If you’re craving traditional hot pot, Shabu Fondue is legitimate. Unfortunately, it is located far up North. I have had a couple of hot pots in Phoenix before. One was actually at a buffet so the price was a fixed amount. If you’re into high class, a nice atmosphere, and plenty of options, Shabu Fondue will do the job.