Restaurant #24: Shabu Shabu Onyasai, Shin-Yokohama

This dinner became a last meal with my friends in Japan. ShabuShabu place, Onyasai, is located near by on Shin-Yokohama station. This restaurant becomes a big chain and several restaurants are already located in Sapporo. I heard about them, but this was my first time to try.

I had a chance to meet with my Hokkaido friend. She moved to Tokyo area a few years ago. She went to the same college in the USA. I was glad to meet her in such a short notice. I introduced my other friend to her, and three of us went to Onyasai together having a dinner.

The décor was pretty. It was a bit dark and Jazz music was played as the background music. Workers were fine, but I felt they were not friendly enough. It was late, so they might be tired... Unfortunately, my camera was out of battery, so the pictures were taken by one of my friend’s mobile phone. (I think it looks amazing! Thank you, my friend!)

Shabu Shabu Set

The menu is complicated; we have several choices for soup, meat, veggies and other side dishes. It is fun to choose each of them, or you may feel much easier to order set menus. Since we were not that hungry, we ordered Shabu Shabu Set (1580 yen), which came with your choice of soup, meat, veggie, and Shime Mono (〆物) for two people.

They used Chinese hot pot, so we could enjoy two different kinds of soup. One came with the basic Konbu soup, and the other was our choice, soymilk soup. It was healthy, and it also provided Yuba (湯葉: tofu skin).

Japanese Kuroge Beef set and Veggie set

Meat set that we chose was "Hayashi Farm’s Mochi-Buta and Japanese Kuroge Beef Set" (林牧場のもち豚と国産黒毛牛セット), which was served with three types of meat; Mochi-Buta Prime Rosu (prime pork loin), Mochi-Buta Prime Kalbi (prime rib), and Japanese Kuroge Beef Prime Rose. All were tasty and tender, but I especially liked prime pork loin. It matched with both kinds of soup.

Our vegetable choice (食物繊維たっぷり野菜の盛り合わせ) looked gorgeous; yam, spinach, Daikon (大根: Japanese radish), Gobo (ごぼう: burdock root), carrot, lettuce, Eringi (エリンギ: emperor mushroom), brown Enoki mushroom, and Nameko mushroom (なめこ). I preferred eating vegetables with Konbu soup, but amazingly, Gobo really matched with soymilk soup. Earthy flavor of Gobo easily becomes strong among the others, but with soymilk soup, it turned to the creamy, gentle flavor. Gobo is a very healthy vegetable, it really help us to digest foods well.

Aww the veggies were really good, so we ordered another Basic Veggie Set (880 yen); lettuce, cabbage, Hakusai (白菜: napa cabbage), Mizuna (水菜), Nira (韮: Oriental garlic chives), carrot, Daikon, Shungiku (春菊: chrysanthemum greens), bok choy, sprout, and spinach. I was not a huge veggie lover before, but once I passed the certain age, I was able to taste the freshness of the vegetables and feel more appreciation to farmers. Oh well, am I just getting old? Shungiku and Nira might have strong flavor than others, but I ate both easily with soymilk soup.

Finally, Shimemono (〆物) came. “Shime-mono” means a closing item of the dinner. After the main dishes and drinking, Japanese commonly eat not only delicious but also like taste rice / noodle item, such as Onigiri (おにぎり: rice ball) or Ochazuke (お茶漬け). Since we chose the soymilk soup, shimemono was “Soymilk Cheese Risotto”. They adjusted the quantity of the soup first (add more or take it out a bit), and add some rice. Over the rice, they shredded the fresh cheese and grinded pepper. It only took a few minutes to complete creamy risotto. It tasted different than I expected, in a good way, since the soup was soymilk. It was a great item to finish up the gathering.

Overall, I and my friends enjoyed this evening with healthy vegetables and tasty meat. Shabu Shabu is becoming popular even in the U.S.. Doing Nabe (hot pot) is a cultural thing for Japanese people; family and friends gather and eat hot pot together in cold season. America’s shabu shabu use a small pot for one person, but we use a huge pot, and put all veggies and meats, and eat them together. This is Japanese/Chinese style, and I always enjoy it!

Total: about 6000 yen (set menu for 2 people, some drinks for each)

Shabu Shabu Onyasai
しゃぶしゃぶ 温野菜

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