Hot-Pot restaurants are weird. Think about it, you spend money to eat boiled food. But the appeal lies in the fact that they’re bonding experiences, a dining-room where everyone’s schedules match and most of all, a dining-room where mobile phones are a forgotten thought.
To that end, I recently visited FuFu Shabu Bangkok a hot-pot spot with a twist. An all you can eat feast, complete with A La Carte selections of meat.
Ambiance and Decor
The theme is a combination of black, grey and red. And the tables and chairs you’ll be seated at are of the communal/cafeteria variety. Although, that is not a bad thing. Like the aforementioned, hot-pots are supposed to be enjoyed ‘with’ as opposed to enjoyed ‘at’, experiences. When entering, you’re greeted with a blast of noises and smells, something conventionally found in a popular chain like Fufu Shabu Bangkok. Nothing to fault here.
Server interactions are strategically designed to be kept at minimum to promote maximum efficiency. However, when you do come into contact with the staff, they’re courteous, attentive and knowledgeable! They do not speak English, hence, the 4.5/5.
The food at FuFu Shabu Bangkok is experimental, a trait baked into the structure of the process — from the sauce selection to the dessert section.
Here’s how it goes down.
After you’re seated at your table, you come face-to-face with a paper brochure listing out the various soup offerings and an ‘A La Carte’ meat section you can order as much of.
The soups were as follows:
Tom Yum, Veggie Soup, Taiwanese Traditional Soup, Plain Soup, Chinese Soup
The pot is split into half, so you can have any combination of soup you’d want. We picked Tom Yum and Taiwanese Traditional.
The cuts of meat were as follows:
Pork: Pork Collar, Pork Loin, Bacon
Beef: Chuck Roll, Striploin, Oyster Blade
Chicken: The rather ambiguous ‘chicken slice’
Here’s a handy table I made incase you’re unfamiliar with some of the more obscure pieces of meat.
|Pork Collar||It is the part of the shoulder that runs from the base of the pig’s neck to the tip of the loin|
|Pork Loin||Pork loin is a large, lean piece of meat from the animal’s back|
|Chuck Roll||This large, boneless cut comes from between the ribs and backbone.|
|Striploin||Tender cut of meat from from the short loin of a cow|
|Oyster Blade||Blade steak comes from the shoulder blade of the cow|
You’re then given trays so you can pick and choose from the ‘buffet section’ of the restaurant. You’re also handed a separate bowl for your ice-cream — which is a pretty small.
The buffet section is extensive. All you can eat (processed) meatballs, fish balls, seafood balls, mixed meatballs…you get the point. And a large selection of fresh seafood, shrimp, crab legs, shells, scallops, squid varieties and more.
There’s also this really odd selection of marinated chicken and pork under the light/ in the open which I didn’t try because they’re not even covered with cling-film, kind of a safety hazard?
Next up is a smattering of local vegetables, chinese spinach, brussel sprouts, sprouts, morning glory. There’s also noodles, namely egg noodles and rice noodles; and a wide variety of mushroom.
And lastly, you stand in front of the sauce station. Where you can concoct your own sauce with staple Asian ingredients: Soy sauce, finely chopped garlic and chillies, and more. Additionally, they even have onsen eggs — boiled at a perfect 62.5c for you to crack open and add some real substance to your sauce.
There are also two pre-made sauces: Vietnamese Sauce and Suki Sauce. Both of which weren’t offensive, but not great either..
Perhaps the most inconsequential part of the meal are the soups. We ordered Tom Yum and Traditional Taiwanese Soup, both of which lacked real flavor. Now, I do understand that the Taiwanese soup is meant to be plain; but the Tom Yum really did dissapoint.
So far, pretty decent right? Here’s the Coup De Grace.
Fufu Shabu Bangkok has all-you-can-eat Haagen Dazs and Movenpick ice cream. Three flavours for each brand, and it almost seems like life only goes downhill after this discovery.
And not that it matters to me — since I believe nothing’s better than high-end ice cream — you also have the option of making your own pancake and creating your own cotton candy!
Lastly, there’s also a good selection of drinks: coke, sprite, and the usual soda suspects, there’s also ‘juices’ (read: sweet artificial liquid) and for someone who desperately needs caffeine; there’s hot tea.
Final Thoughts on Food
FuFu Shabu Bangkok is fine, albeit the meat — which is supposed to be the star of the show — is lackluster. All the cuts of meat look great because of the marbling but you quickly realize they’re made of ligaments, tendons and knuckle meat. The beef and pork are tough, and the chicken is chicken. Also, bear in mind that all of these cuts are unseasoned, which means you have to rely on the sauce big-time.
We suggest grabbing the pre-made Suki Sauce, and tweaking it with extra garlic, chilli or soy sauce instead of going through the hassle of creating your own since it takes too much time and effort.
The seafood is fresh, and it would be a novice move to gravitate towards the processed food instead of the shells, squid and crab legs.
The icecream comes close to making up for the lackluster meat though. But, people rarely use the pancake and cotton-candy stations, rendering them a gimmick.
For 600-ish Thai Baht (10% service fee), and 1hours and 45 minutes of the most savage eating we’ve done in a while, this place is worth it.
But I did question myself if FuFu Shabu Bangkok is only worth it because of the ice-cream or because of the food? The answer. Ice-cream.