Syabu-yo Shabu Shabu Restaurant
If you can’t decide between a Japanese Shabu-Shabu and Taiwanese Hot Pot, why not try the Syabu-yo restaurant? This restaurant perfectly blends these two diverse dishes to offer a delicious combination hot pot with All-You-Can-Eat beef, pork, or both.The restaurant is part of a restaurant group, which includes the popular Café Gracie Italian restaurant. Syabu-yo has two locations in Kaohsiung. One is in the Taroko Mall, on the third floor of the North Wing. The second is in the FE21 Mall in the Sanduo Shopping District.
While it has a 2-hour dining time limit, it’s plenty of time to satiate yourself. Parking isn’t a problem, as the restaurant can vouch for 3 hours of parking in the Taroko Mall parking garage.
At the entrance to the restaurant, you will be greeted by a waiter behind a counter. You will be taken to a table should one be available or asked to be seated on a bench next to the counter for the next available table. Since this is a very popular restaurant, it is advised to make reservations on weekends and holidays, days or weeks in advance.
As you enter the restaurant, you will pass the curry rice, sauce selection, deserts, drinks, and the vegetable bar, which could easily pass for a salad bar in western restaurants. In fact, some people eat the vegetables as salad with the sesame oil sauce. While passable for salad, the vegetables are intended for the hot pot. Once at the table, you will first notice the induction heated burner. The burner is touch controlled. While this method is convenient, takes up less space, and easier to clean, it cannot match the fine heat control of a gas burner. But, it serves its purpose and looks very stylish.
Everything you need are at the table. There is a wooden box that holds both tissues and wet towels. In the box is a drawer with the utensils, chopsticks and spoon. There are two large containers on either side of the box. One holds a ladle, strainer, and thongs. The most important thing though is the bell ringer. This is used to page your waiter. You will need to use this invariably to order more rounds of meat or to ask to refill the pot with your chosen broth.
Ordering is no easy task, as the menu is all Chinese. But not to worry…we will introduce the menu here. There are two steps. First, order the meat. Second, order the broth. The meat comes in beef, pork, or a combination of both. The price differences reflect the cut of the meat. Also, when going in pairs or groups, everyone must order the same meat. According to the manager, since the meat is all-you-can-eat, this prevents one person ordering the beef and the other person ordering the lower priced pork, but then sharing the beef.
Next, order the broth. Shabu-Shabu is traditionally cooked with a fish, seaweed or beef broth. However, Syabu-yo offers the hot pot in a variety of broth flavors: tomato, kimchee, cheese. Hence, you will be served a pot in the shape of Ying-Yang. One side is the restaurant’s signature seaweed broth. The other is the patron’s choice, which presents a perfect balance with eating in groups, as most Taiwanese families and friends do.
Now, the hard part. You will have to make four trips, less if you’re experienced at carrying multiple trays.
First, you have to get the vegetable for the soup. There are a variety of veggies to choose from. There are wooden plates at the end of the vegetable stand for the vegetable. Also, there is a bowl of kimchee, which can be eaten as a side dish or added to the soup, as some people do to spice up the flavor.
Second, as the vegetables are cooking, time to get the sauce. There are a variety of condiments, to be paired with your sauce of choice.
Third, you cannot pass up the curry over rice. The curry is classic Japanese style. You will not be disappointed.
Finally, the drink. There is an espresso coffee maker, hot tea, ice slush, and a soda fountain. Cups can be found under the drink counter.
Enjoy your meal. To order another round of meat, just ring the bell and point out the meat. Be sure to save some room for desert. There are three to choose from, or you can have them all. There is an ice cream dispenser, serving vanilla and/or green tea ice cream. There’s also a small selection of cakes. For a more traditional desert, there is red bean soup.
Syabu-yo offers discounts to children and senior citizens (over 65 years old).