I thought that we should give some attention to the Japanese hotpot restaurants in Singapore as well, which are getting some traction.
Japanese hotpots are categorised by “shabu-shabu” しゃぶしゃぶ – a nabemono hotpot dish of thinly sliced meat and vegetables boiled in water and served with dipping sauces. Shabu-shabu is best eaten with a variety of thinly sliced meats and fresh vegetables.
While in Japan you would usually find soups to be bland (or even just plain boiling water), while Singaporeans diner generally prefer richer and more flavourful soup bases.
Makino @ PLQ Mall
Paya Lebar Quarter Mall #03-28/29, #03-28/29 Singapore 409057
Tel: +65 6972 2770
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Hidden on Level 3 of Paya Lebar Quarter (PLQ) Mall is Makino, a “do-it-yourself” style Japanese shabu-shabu restaurant conceptualised by the team behind Akashi Group.
The variety of Japanese soup bases you can find include the Tori Soup (a 36 hours cooked chicken broth), Mentaiko Soup, Tsurai Miso Soup, Kinoko Soup (assorted mushroom), Tonkotsu Soup, Kaisen Soup (Seafood), Kosho Tonkotsu (pepper pork broth), Tomato Soup and even Singapore Laksa.
The soups are placed in a split nabe pot with a divider down the center, so that diners cook with two different kinds of broth at once. I enjoyed the Tonkotsu Soup and didn’t quite mind the Kaisen and Laksa soup bases, though they were slightly on the saltier side.
Each pot serves from 2 to 5 pax, and the soups cost from $9 to $12 per side.
Also take note that the raw meats here are sliced paper thin, and you would just need to swish the slices briefly in the hot stock for a couple of seconds, rather than submerging in them.
I would recommend getting a variety of meats, but do balance it off with some tofu and vegetables such as Tomio aka Dou Miao – Makino grows these fresh bean seedlings organically.
EN Sakaba @ Capital Tower
Capital Tower, 168 Robinson Road, #01-10 Singapore 068912
Tel: +65 6423 0110
Opening Hours: 11am – 11pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
EN Sakaba is a modern Izakaya offering authentic Japanese fare for lunch and dinner, and has introduced Japanese Hotpot available at Capitol Tower and JEM.
The restaurant goes beyond and offers you A5 Wagyu Beef from Miyazakigyu in Japan, directly from ranch to plate.
This hand-selected beef passed 5 requirements in all key grading categories. It is the crème de la crème, winning 1st place in the 9th and 10th Japanese Competitive Exhibition of Wagyu.
The ‘beauty’ at the end of the meal is when you use the remaining hotpot stock to cook some Japanese porridge or udon.
That is when you immerse the pearl rice grains (or udon) with egg into the rich flavourful essence of the after-broth to conclude your meal.
The usual price of the buffet is $88++ per pax, but there are occasional promotions (current check is $58++ per pax). EN Sakaba (Capital Tower)
100G Pasir Panjang Road #01-01, Singapore 118523 (Nearest MRT: Pasir Panjang)
Tel: +65 9689 4092
Opening Hours: Opening hours: 11.30am – 3pm, 4pm – 10pm (Mon-Fri), 12.30pm – 10pm (Sat), Closed Sun
This is probably the 1st Yuzu specialty restaurant in Singapore serving Yuzu Shabu Shabu.
A restaurant serving up an entire menu (almost) full of Yuzu items: Yuzu Shabu Shabu, Chirashi Kaisen Don with Yuzu, Yuzu Gyoza and even Peppery Yuzu Ice Cream.
The owners decided to have a Yuzu-specialty restaurant due to its unique taste, health and beautifying properties.
Recommended is the A5 Hokkaido Snow Wagyu Yuzu Shabu Set ($53/pax). The 100g A5 Hokkaido Snow Wagyu comes with a marbling score above 10 and are farmed in Hokkaido, Japan.
The Signature Yuzu Soup uses a chicken soup base simmered for 6 hours, cooked daily with fresh Yuzu fruits, with Yuzu juices added into to bring out the light and refreshing taste in every components of the Shabu set. Yuzutei (Pasir Panjang)
Chinatown Point #02-37, 133 New Bridge Road, Singapore 059413
Tel: +65 6444 8840
Opening Hours: Lunch 11:30am – 3:30pm, Dinner 5pm – 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Reserve Online – Tsukada Nojo
When in Tsukada Nojo, you must try their signature dish Bijin Nabe which literally means “beauty hotpot”.
The bijin nabe’s power lies in its broth made from melted collagen. This protein helps rebuild dead cells to recreate a youthful, healthy glow, hence the moniker “beauty hotpot”.
Tsukada Nojo sources its collagen from the highly-prized Jidori chicken, the counterpart of Wagyu beef and kurouta pork. This pure white protein is transformed into a pudding, which is melted over a stove built into the table until it turns into a cloudy soup. The collagen soup is available in 3 flavours: original, curry and spicy.
Hidden under the collage pudding, you will find barely seasoned fork-tender chicken. You can season it with either shoyu (light soy sauce), leek oil, yuzukosho (a citrusy Japanese spice), or chili layu sauce.
The beauty in bijin nabe goes beyond its health benefits – it extends to how it is presented, with the vegetables arranged in a certain order on top of the steaming broth. The closest thing to the fountain of youth, bijin nabe is both a gustatory and visual delight.
MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya
46 Bukit Pasoh Road, Singapore 089858
Tel: +65 6327 8414
Opening hours: 12pm – 3pm, 6pm – 11pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
Not technically a Shabu-Shabu restaurant, but you can find an array of Shabu-shabu and Toban Yaki set lunches all using quality ingredients at MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya.
All lunch sets include Chawanmushi, Tsukemono, Wasabi Konbu, Ikura, Katsuobushi, Dashi Rice, and Miso Soup, which is quite value-for its money.
The Shabu-Shabu sets are accompanied by fresh seasonal vegetables as well as two house dips – dashi ponzu and sesame – for those who like their meats full-flavoured.
With no MSG nor other chemical seasonings, you are guaranteed the dashi is 100% all-natural.
For your meat, choose from Black Angus Beef ($29++), Hokkaido Pork ($29++), White Fish and Salmon ($39++), or the most popular among the set A4 Japanese Wagyu ($49++).
Just a shy away from A5, the A4 Wagyu is a very good quality meat that has a beautiful fat marbling and melt-in-your-mouth tender texture. MAI by Dashi Master Marusaya (Bt Pasoh)
30 Robertson Quay #01-16, Riverside View, Singapore 238251
Opening hours: 5:30pm – 11pm Last orders 10pm (Mon – Sun)
Amazing Hokkaido’s new addition is four Ishikari nabe-style soup bases: Original Seafood Shio, Prawn Shio, Shrimp Miso Bisque and Spicy Miso Soup. Prices start from $15.90.
The hotpot follows the style of Hokkaido’s traditional Ishikari nabe, a miso-based stew that is prepared with salmon and even the miso is made in-house by its chefs.
The set includes salmon, yellowtail, squid, monkfish liver, assorted vegetables (leek, enoki mushroom, napa cabbage) and tofu. Diners can choose to top-up extra for other la carte ingredients, such as tsumire (Japanese fishballs), hanpen (pounded fishcake), crab meat, black cod, sliced rice cake, rice paper, butter, beef, pork and chicken.
Also, the hotpot comes with an individual portion (easier for safe-distancing).
For something richer, my personal favourite would be the Shrimp Miso Bisque which is made by extracting the flavours of grilled shrimps and shiro miso.
The shiro miso is stir-fried into a paste along with a medley of fruits, vegetables and seasoning, and hence contributes to the soup’s unique, savoury-sweet flavour which goes well with the sliced fish.
For meat lovers, you can do an add-on for pork ($4.90), chicken ($4.90), and beef ($4.90). Amazing Hokkaido (Robertson Quay)
Orchard Central, 181 Orchard Road, #08-09/10/11 Singapore 238896 (Somerset MRT)
Tel: +65 6884 6760
Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3pm, 6pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Fri), 11:30am – 10:30pm (Sat – Sun)
Reserve Online now
Shabu Sai is an all-you-can-eat, Japanese buffet restaurant, with Shabu-Shabu and Sukiyaki – more than 60 items on the buffet table.
It is also the most mass-market friendly with outlets at Causeway Point, Changi Airport Point, Suntec City, Eastpoint Mall, Westgate, Tampines One, and NEX.
Price range from Weekday lunch of $16.99++ to Weekend dinner $29.99++, though it may differ slightly outlet to outlet, and there are occasional promotions diners will look out for.
For the soup bases, the most popular are the Tonkotsu and Sukiyaki, with occasional specials such as Tonkotsu Kimchi and Mala Tomato. Soups are generally slightly on the saltier side though.
The Sukiyaki soup base is the safest choice, probably the broth that can bring out the tastes of the sliced US beef, South American pork and Brazilian chicken. The best things in the entire restaurant are these meats really, coming mid-thinly sliced in huge black square serving trays.
Tenkaichi Japanese BBQ Restaurant
Marina Square #03-129 6 Raffles Boulevard, Singapore 039594
Opening Hours: 11.30am – 2.30pm, 5.30pm – 10.00pm (Mon – Fri)
11:30am – 10:00pm (Sat, Sun, PH)
Cineleisure Orchard #02-11, 8 Grange Road, Singapore 239695
Opening Hours: 12pm – 3pm, 5pm – 10pm (Mon – Fri), 12pm – 10pm (Sat – Sun)
Renowned for its premium grilled Wagyu Beef and value-for-money buffets, Tenkaichi Japanese BBQ Restaurant offers an authentic Japanese yakiniku experience.
At Tenkaichi’s Deluxe and Premium Yakiniku Buffets, you get free flow of Wagyu beef sourced from different parts of the world: Kagoshima, Hokkaido, US, and Australia.
It offers high-quality premium Japan Kagoshima Wagyu, and you can be assured that the Wagyu is graded no less than a marbling score of 7+.
Aside from the famed Kagoshima and Hokkaido Wagyu, it offers a range of sashimi (octopus, tuna, sea bream, salmon, yellowtail, mackerel, Wagyu beef), beef (ox tongue, beef belly, striploin), pork (cheek fillet, smoked belly, collar, loin, belly), chicken (boneless leg, wing), seafood (local spicy fish cake, salmon, prawn, squid, capelin fish, sea bream, mackerel).
Go for the Premium Buffet with Wagyu Beef to also enjoy premium seafood like Hokkaido Jumbo Oyster, Giant Scallop, and White Tuna.
It also includes the famed Kuro Buta Kaburi (Black Pork Belly) known for its tenderness, Lamb Nakaochi (lamb intercostal), and special cuts of Wagyu (ox tongue, short rib, beef rib intercostal, beef rib eye cap, and mixed beef & pork patty).
Various locations including Marina Square, Heartland Mall, Tampines Mall, Bukit Panjang Plaza, Kallang Wave Mall, Toa Payoh Safra, Bugis+, i12 Katong
Go to Suki-ya if you want an reasonably-priced eat-all-you-can sukiyaki aka Japanese steamboat, and shabu shabu.
Known for its five unique soup bases (Shabu Shabu, Sukiyaki, Tonyu Miso, Butaniku, and Kimuchi), Suki-Ya gives you options whether you want something wildly spicy (Kimuchi) or healthy & nutritious (Tonyu Miso).
Its signature Shabu Shabu soup base is made from healthy kombu stock and simmered kelp and is low in calories and light on the palate. A Japanese favourite, the Sukiyaki broth, is a combination of soy sauce, sugar and mirin.
For your meat selections, this “House of Pot” offers unlimited, top-quality chilled paper-thin slices of beef, pork, and farmed chicken. Dip your meats in available sauces like ponzu (shoyu with vinegar), goma tare (sesame sauce), spicy miso tare (soybean paste sauce), which you complement with grated radish, chopped chillies, chopped spring onion, or mala spice.
Explore Suki-Ya’s vegetable bar, stocked with a mix of fresh greens and assorted vegetables, for cleansing your palate after all the richness you’ve taken in.
Shabu Shabu Gen
1 Scotts Road, Shaw Centre #01-15, Singapore 228208
Tel: +65 6836 5155
Opening Hours: 12pm – 2:30pm, 6:30pm – 10:30pm (Mon – Sat), Closed Sun
If you are looking at a higher end Shabu Shabu restaurant in Singapore, Shabu Shabu Gen which has been around since 2009 is sister restaurant to Aoki.
Owner Chef Kunio Aoki is the brainchild behind this concept, which sources prime Japanese beef from boutique cattle houses.
The Shabu Shabu set offers Kogashima Beef with ribeye or sirloin priced at $145 or $180; or Hida Beef at $235. There is also Iberico Pork, with loin ($85) and belly ($70) options.
Other than this outlet at Shaw Centre, there is another at The Plaza in Jakarta Indonesia.
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