Hot Pot Fever Hits ‘Neighborhood’ Eatery
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The shabu shabu trend continues at Shabu Shabu Bangkok on Kapahulu Avenue, where owner Keo Sananikone has blended his famous Thai cuisine with this hot pot craze.
The restaurant opened its doors last September in Kapahulu, and Sananikone says shabu shabu is the perfect choice for those who are health conscious.
“In the last few years shabu shabu has become very popular in Thailand because people are wanting to eat healthier,” he explains. “We provide table service, which people love, and what makes our shabu shabu unique are our broths and sauces.”
Whether it’s chicken, beef, vegetarian or Tom Yum (Thai lemon grass) broth, a foundation of delicious items has been laid out for Shabu Shabu Bangkok’s valued customers. Diners can select from an array of shabu shabu dishes, including the Vegetable Combo ($14.95), Seafood Combo ($19.95) and Meat Combo ($17.95). According to Sananikone, the Vegetable and Seafood combos are often the most-requested dishes on the menu.
“The vegetable combo features freshly mixed vegetables with a variety of tofu and mushrooms, and the seafood combo consists of shrimp, scallops, calamari, mussels, clams, fish, fish and shrimp cake, and shrimp wonton,” he says.
Carnivores should take notice of the meat combo, which offers up an enticing array of beef, pork, chicken, pork and beef meatballs and pork wonton.
Shabu shabu can be categorized as comfort food, but it’s Sananikone’s special dipping sauces that gratify patrons. Guests can request the house’s specialty red bean curd sauce, a light, tasty and mild soy offering; a cilantro lime sauce, which features a dash of chili pepper; a mild green onion sauce or the always spicy Thai Tom Yum sauce.
“Believe it or not, we actually have a lot of people who add intestine, liver, tendon and stomach to their shabu shabu,” Sananikone states. Those with a weak stomach, however, should stick with noodles, or the additional vegetable, meat or seafood instead. Of course, these ingredients also come with an additional cost.
While shabu shabu has proven to be the mainstay here, diners can order from the Thai cuisine menu as well. Chef Urai prepares close to 40 menu items with plans to expand the list in the near future.
Spring Rolls ($7.95) served with fresh lettuce, cucumber slices, mint leaves, pickled carrots and daikon paired with a special vinaigrette dipping sauce is the recommended appetizer, and the famous Bangkok-style Panang Curry is a delightful entree. The Panang Curry features an exotic mix of kaffir lime leaves, fresh ground lemon grass, peas and fresh spices. Spicy and flavorful, the curry can be ordered with shrimp and scallops for $15.95 or with chicken for $12.95.
Finally, cleanse your palate with a refreshing dessert showcasing ube, coconut and mango ice cream for $6.95.
“We can cater to those who want a romantic dinner or a big party. We have four private rooms that people can reserve,” Sananikone says. “We’re your neighborhood restaurant, offering up healthy cuisine.”
Shabu Shabu Bangkok
- 949 Kapahulu Avenue
- Honolulu, HI 96816
- (808) 732-7666
- Open daily
- 5 p.m. – 10 p.m.