In case you missed it: PAGASA has announced that colder days are ahead of us! One of the best things about this time of year is the temporary relief we get from the scorching Manila heat. And this cool weather calls for one of our favorite meals: Hotpot!
If you're unfamiliar with what hotpot or shabu-shabu is, it's a Chinese style of cooking where you have a pot of soup broth at the table and a variety of ingredients, like vegetables, sliced meat, tofu, and mushrooms, to cook in the simmering pot of soup. The term "shabu-shabu" translates to "swish swish," referring to the way the ingredients are swished in the broth to cook. Though it was popularized by the Chinese, these days you can find many different styles of shabu-shabu, some leaning more towards Japanese or Korean flavors.
Now that you're familiar with the concept of hotpot, gather your close friends or family and enjoy a warm meal together as a way to bond over the holiday season! Check out these restaurants in Manila for all your hotpot needs.
1. Tong Yang
Tong Yang is one of the biggest hot pot chains in the country, known for its all-you-can-eat shabu-shabu and grill buffets (from P595). They believe that life is a celebration of good food, and that dining experiences are best shared, so be sure to bring your loved ones here on an empty stomach, as you're sure to be filled up with their extensive buffet items. Different broth flavors include chicken, sinigang, spicy sate, vegetarian, kimchi, and Taiwan Mala. For your protein, choose from US beef, pork belly, imported beef balls, several kinds of seafood, and much more. You'll also find a couple of Filipino and Asian appetizers to go with your hotpot meal.
Ganso Shabuway, an international franchise from California, is one of Metro Manila's most popular Japanese-style hotpot restaurants. You'll notice that the pot has a divider in the middle so that you can try two different broths; choose from seaweed, spicy miso, or ginger chicken. Their Shabuway set menus (starting at P795) come with high-quality angus or kobe beef, choice of broth, vegetables, and unlimited rice and dipping sauces. Depending on what set you choose, you can also get your set with mushrooms, noodles, or dumplings. Seafood lovers will love the Seafood set menus (from P428), with shrimp, squid, fish, scallops, and more.
This spot is another famous choice among hotpot lovers. Healthy Shabu-Shabu serves the classic Chinese hotpot, with several set menus that will happily satisfy a group of four. It's easy to get overwhelmed with the number of choices, especially if it's your first visit – they have all kinds of protein, from deluxe seafood, Japanese wagyu, pork loin, lamb, and everything in between. Don't be afraid to ask the staff or your fellow hotpot loving companions for their recommendations!
For special occasions and big celebrations, head over to Four Seasons Buffet and Hotpot. This buffet is part of the Vikings group, so you can expect a vast array of fresh ingredients to add to your pot. Here, you have the freedom to mix and match your hotpot exactly how you like it. Help yourself to all the vegetables, meat and seafood, and dumplings you want! You also have the freedom to create your own dipping sauce from their selection of condiments.
Looking for an unlimited Japanese-style hotpot? Shaburi is the place for you. Just be prepared to make the most of their 90-minute time limit! They're known for the All You Can Meat menu (starting at P599) that comes with a selection of tender meat, like special wagyu, US beef, pork, and more. For the soup, they offer five kinds, occasionally including limited-edition flavors (they've had truffle soup and cheese soup in the past!), and you can opt for a twin pot if you want to try two different broths. If you're still hungry for more, grab some side dishes like sushi or gyoza from the buffet table!
Another place to enjoy hotpot in a classy setting is Red Lantern at Solaire. Even non-casino goers and hotel stayers come to Red Lantern for the authentic Chinese cuisine they serve. Aside from the top-quality ingredients, they serve with the hotpot, the luxurious ambiance and Chinese-influenced interiors will have you feeling relaxed throughout your stay. If you're willing to shell out a little more for the change of atmosphere from your shabu-shabu at a busy mall, go for it!
This shabu-shabu spot is a somewhat hidden gem. Supreme Beef HotPot is located along Kalaw Street, Manila, and serves affordable eat-all-you-can hotpot and grill (from P329). For a 2-hour time limit, you can help yourself to their fresh cuts of beef, pork, vegetables, and more. If you're into it, you can also have some of their unique meats like beef shank, ox tongue, and ox tripe. Be sure to try their homemade beef balls, too!
For a Korean approach to hotpot, try out All 4U Unlimited Grill & Shabu-Shabu. This spot is pretty much a cross between a shabu-shabu restaurant and samgyupsal joint, where you can either grill the protein and side dishes, or cook them in the pot of Korean soup. The broth comes in 4 flavors to choose from: Organic Shabu-Shabu, Bulgoggi, Kimchi, and Fishcake. Rates per head start at P499, depending on the day and time, and comes with unlimited shrimp, pork belly, beef brisket, chicken, fish cake, vegetables, and more. This is the place to get your Korean food and hotpot cravings in one!
9. Gloria Maris
Gloria Maris is a well-known authentic Chinese restaurant, especially popular in the Filipino-Chinese community. Their Greenhills branch has a designated area for hotpot dining for guests to "enjoy warm and honest cooking like never before." Customers have raved about the big servings and wide variety of choices on the hotpot menu (lamb brisket and ostrich meat are just a few of the unique meats you can get). Unlike other shabu-shabu places that price based on set menus, at Gloria Maris, each type of ingredient has its own price – so every different broth, protein, and type of vegetable all have separate prices. The upside to this is that your hotpot is entirely customizable, and you can order exactly what ingredients you want. Plus, you can be sure Gloria Maris doesn't skimp on quality and service.
Meat lovers, look no further – Wow Cow Fresh Beef Hotpot is the perfect spot for you. As the restaurant name suggests, beef takes the spotlight at Wow Cow, so don't feel bad if you're the type who could do with fewer veggies in their shabu-shabu (but you still do get plenty side dishes and sauces). Here, you can have unlimited servings of their 11 kinds of fresh beef and other ingredients (from P4,800), which are all sourced from local butchers and farms. Ever wanted to have hotpot with beef tongue, ribeye, or beef shoulder? This is the place to try it all!