Tokyo, Ginza: Shabusen

Let’s just get this picture out of the way early:


Shabusen is a pretty popular shabu-shabu place inside the Ginza Core building. So popular that it has one outlet on the 2nd floor and one in Basement 2. We’ve always gone to the one in the basement, for some reason. It seems to attract locals and tourists in fairly equal measure.

This restaurant was another old favourite from 2013. It was where we first discovered that the shabu-shabu we eat back home is basically a lie. Here, the soup stock is light yet hearty, rather than savoury or salty. It comes across as a little bland at first brush, but you soon realise that it enhances the taste of the meat, and gives it a platform upon which its fresh flavour can really stand out.

(James started with a beer.)

These are the ingredients of the meal proper. Sliced meat, vegetables, two types of dipping sauce (sesame and ponzu).

Each customer has an individual shabu-shabu pot, and everything bubbles happily in it. Occasionally, the waiter will come by to skim off any scum that’s floating on the surface.

FOOD. Gosh, I look tired.

The indefatigable waiter who serves up to 20 diners at once. He has to keep track of where everyone is in their meal, and what to do for them: serve noodles? decant a small portion of stock into a soup cup? take a dessert order? Where productivity is concerned, I’d like to see anyone beat the Japanese F&B employee.

The meal came with a choice of dessert: ice-cream, or kuzukiri. Our waiter telegraphed a beam of quiet approval when we both picked the kuzukiri.

Here’s what kuzukiri looks like in action: flat arrowroot jelly strips, dipped in a sugar syrup that tastes vaguely like gula melaka.

This was a meal that really hit the spot on this cool spring evening.
The damage was around SGD 26 for my beef+pork set, slightly more for James’ set which was all beef.

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