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Jun 5, 2008 01:01 PM

[HOU] Best Hot Pot and Shabu Shabu?

i'm assuming that the best hot pot will be found in chinatown. i've tried the one at tan tan, which is a vietnamese-chinese version and very good, although the dipping sauce is terrible, tasteless. i've also had the hot pot that comes with the seafood buffet at the kim son in chinatown. very lemongrassy broth and liked being able to pick the hot pot ingredients myself. there were also lots of sauces to choose from so you could mix your own.

are there hot pots? i think i read that Sinh Sinh serves it as well as a place called Lucky Pot.

and how about the japanese version, Shabu Shabu? I know there is a place called Shabu House in the Dun Huang shopping center. any one been? is there better in town?t

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  1. Did you just get a random craving? Just seems a little hot to go for some hot pot imo!

    Anyway, yes Sinh Sinh does hot pot. I've also gone to Cafe 101, Tay Do and Lucky Dragon as well. If I were to pick one place, I'd go with 101. Sinh Sinh and Tay Do are both good calls too. I don't go to Tan Tan with the intent of having hot pot, since there are other places you should go instead.

    More links for you:

    The 9889 address Bellaire between Corporate/Beltway 8 that got mentioned in the older CH thread is Cafe 101. A little shocking I haven't seen much about them here, it's great place. Prices are slightly more expensive than a typical restaurant in the area, but it's because of the nicer atmosphere. The drinks are another hit there, so make sure you grab a drink with your hot pot too!

    1 Reply
    1. re: air

      hmm, i disagree with your assessment of cafe 101. i've been there 3 times and i've found that only some of their soups are okay. the curry is disgusting, the sushi must be avoided.

      although i disagree with many of the reviews in the fearless critic houston restaurant guide, i think their review of cafe 101 which was in the form of a letter to the restaurant was hilarious and said it best... "we are aware of the possibility that by installing a bright purple shaded sign, hiring pretty waitressses, and serving things in trendy bento boxes, you thought you might then be able to charge a premium for food that's produced with little or no thought. still we struggle to understand your business plan... does the name cafe 101 refer to the number of different cuisines on your menu? are they -- along with the short skirts -- intended to confuse people?.... one day, we too hope to take people's money without actually offering them a dining experience." AWESOME review. the waitresses there are all dressed like japanese schoolgirls. my last trip was just to take a guy friend of mine there b/c he didn't believe me about the waitresses.

      i'm always in the mood for a good brothy soup. but i do agree that hot pot is better in the colder months. have you actually had the hot pot at cafe 101, tay do, sinh sinh, and lucky dragon? (lucky dragon doesn't have hot pot listed on their menu.) can you compare and contrast them for me? tan tan has tables built especially for hot pot. which of the others do too?

      also, i can add sichuan cuisine and fu fu cafe to that list of hot pot places.

    2. i went to shabu house on friday with 3 friends. first of all i was disappointed that it was run by chinese people, but i should have known. somehow i was expecting an authentic japanese experience. here, everyone gets their own individual hot pot and burner. everyone had to order 1 shabu setup (no splitting). the choices were beef, more beef, seafood, beef & seafood (double food), veggie, and veggie deluxe. the cost was 11.99 to 18.99 per person although veggie might be a little cheaper. each person also got a plate of assorted veggies, bean thread noodles, and other goodies such as fish balls, rice cake, tofu, taro root, and bean curd skin. everyone also got 2 dipping sauces which were quite good: sesame & soy sauce/ponzu.

      i decided i won't be back based on the following reasons:
      - i prefer family style hot pot. the communal effort is fun.
      - you are required to order too much food. i couldn't finish half my plate of beef.
      - the broth is almost tasteless when it comes to the table.
      - the seafood was almost all frozen.
      - there is a lack of meat variety. a pork, chicken, and lamb option would be nice.
      - value. the hot pots at tan tan are $22.95 - 25.95 and feed 3 to 4 easily. the seafood is seems fresher (or at least it is already thawed).

      3 Replies
        1. re: neverfull

          I enjoyed going to Shabu House all the time. I like the atmosphere, the food, and the cleaniness of the restaurant. If you like strong soup base, you should try "chinese" hot pot. Shabu shabu is a japanese version of hot pot which is suppose to have a very light soup base served with japanese style sesame and ponzu sauce. If you have been to different restaurants serving shabu shabu in Taiwan, Tokyo, and Los Angeles, you will know that shabu shabu is a very light and refreshing japanese style hot pot. If you are looking for a strong flavor chinese style hot pot, then Shabu House is not the place to go.

          1. re: wawah5

            i have had chinese hot pot. i included that in the initial topic. i'm just not sure how authentic shabu house's shabu is. plus, you are missing my some of my other points.

            i went to nippon in montrose searching for traditional japanese ramen yesterday. i found out they serve shabu shabu, sukiyaki, and a few other versions of japanese "hot pot." they are japanese owned so the food might be more authentic. i'll report back.

      1. went to sinh sinh for a hot pot lunch today. ordered the combination hot pot for 2 which came with the obligatory greens, bean thread noodles and tofu. the other plate had raw fish, shrimp, mussels, squid, tripe, chicken, beef, and pork. we also ordered a pound of live shrimp. they came skewered and were still moving on the plate. a neat experience.

        the hot pot was divided into 2 sides and both broths were delicious. the spicy broth is spicier than tan tan's spicy one, but i think tan tan's broths are a little better b/c they are more intensely flavored with fried garlic & onions (a vietnamese influence).
        both sinh sinh and tan tan serve the same sa tsa dipping sauce (which you can mix raw egg yolk into), 2 raw eggs, and a small plate of egg noodles. however, the freshness of the raw meat and seafood at sinh sinh makes it the top choice for hot pot between the two.

        the pound of live shrimp ($35.95) cost more than the hot pot for 2, but it easily fed 4 adults. we each paid $20 including tip. this was barely more than what we paid at shabu house but for much better quality food.

        if anyone knows of a hot pot that can beat sinh sinh's, please let me know.