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Happy Shabu Shabu or Quickly Shabu Shabu?

What do you think and why?

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  1. I'd have to give the nudge to Quickly Shabu Shabu. They have a cleaner interior, serve you more promptly, and the decor is much better to dine in. The lighting at Happy Shabu Shabu is much too harsh (think flourescent hospital-strength cafeteria) and the waitresses were pretty rude.

    At Quickly they give you this neat dual plate that has your meats on top and all the sides on the bottom. At Happy they give you everything separate like the sides in Korean barbeque.

    At Happy all the oils and sauces are unmarked. At Quickly every bottle of oil and bowls of sauces are clearly marked in English.

    Also at Quickly Shabu they give you one free bubble tea to start with along with one of their dinners.

    Long story short- IMHO Happy is better if you're a veteran shabu who speaks Cantonese, Quickly is much better for first timers and in general.

    1. Thanks so much for your detailed and helpful reply!

      1. You're welcome!

        Also, Happy Shabu Shabu is in a dicier, more run down portion of Chinatown, whereas Quickly Shabu Shabu is less than a block away from the Grand Street B/D subway station, in a very active part of Chinatown. Happy's sole location positive is that it's only a few blocks away from Congee Village if you got cheesed off.

        4 Replies
        1. re: PeteC888

          I haven't eaten at either but a few months ago I went in both and looked at their menus, and as I recall -- I could be wrong -- Happy is significantly cheaper, especially at the low end (you can get a simple beef shabu shabu for $10)

          1. re: Brian S

            Sure, it's cheaper, but at Happy you get gruff treatment and a single-door setup that guarantees you a blast of frozen air if you're sitting by the door; at Quickly they're glad to see you and they have a foyer that makes winter dining much easier.

            I ate at both; one made me feel like I was imposing on them and the other treated me like a king. Granted, it could have been because I visited both during peak periods, but I'll pay a little more for decent service and cheerful wait staff!

          2. re: PeteC888

            We went to Quickly for an early New Years Eve dinner and had a great time! There were few people in there and lots of food. We all really enjoyed the food.

            1. re: PeteC888

              Happy Shabu Shabu is real close to the F stop East Broadway if transportation is your concern. I've never been to Quickly, but I agree with the service about Happy a bit. They seated me at a spot where the control of the stove was messed up (ie. really hard to change the temperature). The place was empty but they wouldn't seat me somewhere else, I guess they were waiting for a group or something. I can't complain though, Happy has the lowest prices in manhattan , this is chinatown after all, usually good food, low prices and bad to average service.

              Good World Bar and grill is around the corner for drinks. Overseas Malaysian is down the block for good malaysian too.

            2. I'd also put in a vote for Outlet Koca Lounge, despite my lack of shabu-shabu experience. It's on Orchard St. between Broome and Grand, and is a more Western-themed, hip-looking than traditional place. They offer four kinds of broth: we had the tom yum-style with seafood and vegetables, which we really liked. So it's more Thai- than Chinese-style, I believe. Again, I can't vouch for its authenticity, but it's a fun place.


              3 Replies
              1. re: JulesEV

                $17 for a pot of broth with no meat and vegetables?

                1. re: csw

                  No, $15 (according to menupages; I don't recall offhand) for a pot of broth with vegetables. Considering that feeds 2-3 people, I think it's not bad, but again, my shabu shabu experience is pretty nonexistent. It does sound to me like these other places don't have much in the way of atmosphere, while Outlet is a nice place to linger.

                2. re: JulesEV

                  No liquor license? Tch. At Happy and Quickly they at least give you the old Tsingtao / Heineken choice, as well as their range of delicious bubble teas. Thanks for mentioning it though, now I know a shabu I can take kids to.

                3. Does anyone know what time Quickly is open till? Thinking about hitting it up on a weekend night. Thanks!

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: deabot

                    They are typically open until about 10:00, although if you get there at 9:30 or later they'll be much less enthused about serving you.

                  2. My vote is definitely for Happy Shabu Shabu. For me, it's all about the broth. Quicky, tastes a bit more like watered down chicken stock. The broth is different at Happy and IMO MUCH tastier. I don't know what they do differently (maybe it's slightly fish based?) I don't mind the cafeteria style set up at Happy, it's all part of the experience for me. And I like how they have peanut sauce at HSS rather than Sesame at Quickly. And for 2 person parties, you can at least sit across from one another at HSS rather than right next to the person at Quickly.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: emiloooo

                      Yeah I think you're right about adding fish, as the stock kind of tastes like dashi stock (seaweed n fish flakes)

                      1. re: randumbposter

                        ah! i just went to happy this week and they said they DO use chicken stock. but i feel that there is a different taste to the broth than at quickly. oh i am craving it right now!

                    2. I've been to all three places and my vote has to go to Koca Lounge on Orchard St. between broome and grand. Whereas Quickly and Happy seem to rush customers out as soon as you're done eating, Koca lounge has a way better atmosphere. They welcomed me to stay and enjoy myself - which was not hard to do. And the prices are also very comparable to happy and quickly.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: nycfoodlover

                        Does anyone know if Happy Shabu Shabu closed or if it just moved locations? I heard a rumor it is going to be changed into a coffee shop! This would be devastating.

                        1. re: nycfoodlover

                          I'd like to know this too - i was DYING to go today and found out they closed - their website mentions a new location but with no other details . This matches their service at the restaurant, but i learned to look past that a long time ago and i love their food too much. I'm going try quickly tonight

                          1. re: taintedblue

                            There is a new shabu place on Mott Street Between Hester and Canal with a long name called 'Shabu Shabu....cantonese...'.

                            The main level is for regular dishes. The basement is for Shabu Shabu.