Shabu House – Houston’s oldest personal hot pot restaurant!
Shabu House, Houston’s oldest personal hot pot restaurant, is tucked away in a bustling shopping center in the heart of Chinatown. It also just happens to be my absolute favorite restaurant in the city. I’ve come to Shabu House so often with my friends that the staff recognizes us now, which makes this place even more special and a great place to go for a small gathering or a fun group outing.
If you’ve never been to a hot pot restaurant or “shabu shabu,” you first need to know that you cook your own food in a boiling pot of broth. You drop the vegetables, seafood, meats, and more that you order into the boiling broth and wait various times to take them out, dipping them into sauces or eating them as is. Whatever you order is up to you!
It’s also worth noting that hot pot is meant to be social— the communal act of preparing and eating food together while chatting and spending time with a friend or loved one is one of the biggest draws of hot pot.
Shabu House is arranged in sections with booths for more private gatherings and large tables for bigger groups. Once you’ve chosen your seat, the staff will hand you menus and a paper ordering sheet. You can either tell them what you’d like or mark your selection on the paper. Then, they’ll take the form and bring your food right away.
Although Shabu House is famous for its hot pots, they offer a full menu of appetizers, an array of sides that you can add to your hot pot, and even bubble tea, a newer addition. But if you choose to order from their hot pot menu, first, you select a set. They have beef, lamb, seafood, pork, and vegetarian options. From there, you choose the broth and the dipping sauce you’d like. If you want to choose more specific items, there are pages and pages of items that you can add. You can also ask for additional green onions, chili, cilantro, and garlic to be brought to the table.
I chose to order a beef combo with a barley tea, which is my usual go-to. Because you prepare the food, it arrives rather quickly. They will first bring out the broth and turn on the burner for you so that it begins to boil while they prepare the food to be brought out. If you get confused by the burners, don’t worry, it’s easy to catch on. Then, they’ll bring out everything else you’ve ordered, and it’s time to get cooking!
How long everything takes to cook varies. If it’s your first time, you’ll have to go by trial and error or ask the staff for their opinion. They’re incredibly friendly and will have no issue helping you out.
The food at Shabu House is always filling and so satisfying. With whopping portion sizes, fabulous sauce and broth flavors, and the best barley tea in Houston, it’s no wonder why this restaurant remains my top favorite in town.