Shabu Shabu Made With Love
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Hear the words “shabu shabu” enough times and one will inevitably start to crave the traditional nabe meal, also known as Japanese hot pot, consisting of a sumptuous broth inundated with fresh meat, seafood and vegetables.
While the Japanese have enjoyed such meals for centuries, Ichiriki brings a shabu shabu experience like no other to the island of Oahu. Since its restaurant debut in 2006, Ichiriki now operates from three different locations in Honolulu, Aiea and most recently, Kaneohe.
Specializing in Japanese nabe, Ichiriki offers an impressive variety of broths and toppings, catering to multiple unique palates. “We have more than 15 different broths, ranging from the traditional shoyu-based Ichiriki Nabe ($21.95) to the popular Angry Goma Nabe ($23.95),” says Issei Kazama, co-founder of Ichiriki. “Our Angry Goma Nabe is one of our most popular spicy broths and incorporates a mix of habanero and jalapeno peppers as well as a special red chili pepper.”
Using the freshest ingredients from local farms when possible, Ichiriki’s nabe meals contain a symphony of rich but clean flavors. “Our typical hot pot meal can include cabbage, tofu, meat, meat-balls, shrimp, salmon, chicken and homemade sausages, just to name a few,” says Kazama. In addition to traditional liquid broths, the Curry Nabe ($21.95) is a popular menu item, which features a fragrant mix of seasonal mushrooms, carrots and chicken.
One of highlights to dining at Ichiriki is what comes at the end. At the conclusion of every nabe meal, diners may choose to use any leftover nabe broth or curry to make their own personal ramen, udon or rice porridge. “Particularly with the curry dish, our rice porridge is very popular because we take the leftover broth that has been simmering during the meal and put it over rice and cheese,” says Kazama. “What results is an indescribably succulent risotto that just pulls the entire meal together.”
During its generous happy hour, Ichiriki features a Kobe Beef Shabu Shabu ($16.95), which includes a 5 ounce portion of Kobe beef. “As with all the meat we sell here including our ribeye, short rib and kalbi, we take great pride in the type of beef we sell,” says Kazama. “We only serve the highest grade, the kind of meat I would prepare for my wife’s father.”
In addition to the menu’s various nabe choices, diners may also choose to build their own nabe. “For first-timers, the build-your-own-nabe option sometimes works great because it allows them to pick and choose what they want and get acclimated to all the flavors,” says Kazama.
To supplement the meal, customers may also choose from a variety of fresh appetizers such as the Chicken Karaage ($5.95) and Ahi Katsu ($6.95), which is breaded and deep-fried as well as seared in the middle so the inside is rare.
For any social media-savvy patrons, Ichiriki welcomes all to search the restaurant on various media platforms for discount opportunities. “We really enjoy using social media outlets such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to help get the word out about Ichiriki,” says Kazama. “Oftentimes, we will hold picture contests on Instagram and do giveaways or offer a great deal for participants.”
Ichiriki’s success over the past few years proves a clear testament to the quality and consistency of its cuisine. With so many possibilities of broth, vegetable and meat choices, it is easy to understand why Ichiriki’s menu features mostly nabe meals. “Nabe is one of my favorite foods, something I greatly identify with,” says Kazama. “As much as Japanese shabu shabu is healthy, it is also extremely filling and leaves you very satisfied.”
Ichiriki Japanese Nabe Restaurant
46-047 Kamehameha Hwy., Ste. 14 and 15, Kaneohe
Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-midnight
Happy hour daily, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. and 9 p.m.-closing (Happy hour times vary at each location.)