Search form

What's new: Piling it on at ShabuShabu

What's new: Piling it on at ShabuShabu

They say that time is money, and it’s never been truer than at Shabu Shabu, the Japanese hotpot and sushi buffet that just opened a sleek new branch next to Lucky 7 on Sothearos Boulevard. For just under US$8, customers are given 80 minutes to eat and drink as much as they please.

If I am going to dish out eight bucks for a meal, you better believe I am going to make the most of it, and I entered the restaurant as if their time limit were a challenge to my exceptional eating abilities.

As soon as I stepped into the restaurant I was warmly welcomed by sharply dressed waiters and waitresses who led me and my friends to our table, one of many in the big black- and red-themed restaurant that can seat about 150 hungry customers.

I started my fast-paced feast with a hot pot of plain vegetable soup (spicy is another option, but I am a wimp when it comes to hot food) and began to make my master creation. First I tossed in a piece of Hawaiian corn, then fresh Taiwanese cabbage, pork, beef, shrimp, celery and black mushrooms, and before long the steam rising from the pot smelled so good that I couldn’t help but grab a spoon.

The songs of Preap Sovath were the soundtrack to most of our meal, but as the restaurant filled up the voice of Cambodia’s most beloved pop star began to blend in with tableside chit-chat. On a normal day, the restaurant fills up around 6pm, so either show up early or get ready to wait for a table.

My initial trip to the buffet was fine, but as my stomach filled up, and food-induced laziness kicked in, the walk from my table by the window to the buffet at the centre of the restaurant became increasingly difficult.

After soup and a couple of cokes, I turned my attention to the sushi maki, which was, given my eight-dollar investment, a bit disappointing. The colorful appearance was quite appetising, but upon putting the attractive morsels into my mouth, I found that the fish wasn’t that fresh and the rice was a bit sour. Maybe I’m just not a fan of Japanese cuisine. I ended up leaving a number of pieces on the table but, of the ones I did eat, the California maki was the best.

The other items in the buffet, such as the fried noodles and BBQ chicken, were delicious at first, but rather oily and lost some of their appeal after a few bites.

Shabu Shabu is best suited for people with a healthy appetite and little interest in socialising. Since you have to compete with time, you begin to feel like you need to grab every item on the food train, and you simply can’t talk while seriously chowing down.

Despite trying to eat as quickly as possible, I was informed upon arriving at the dessert and fruit table that I was over my 80 minutes and would have to pay an extra dollar for 20 more minutes of feasting freedom. I wouldn’t pay a dollar just for ice cream, especially after stuffing myself silly for nearly an hour and a half. I walked out of the restaurant with a full stomach, which was what I had hoped for, but for $8, I would have liked a little more.

Have you been to Shabu Shabu? Tell us what yo think at


  • Breaking: PM says prominent human rights NGO ‘must close’

    Prime Minister Hun Sen has instructed the Interior Ministry to investigate the Cambodian Center for Human Rights (CCHR) and potentially close it “because they follow foreigners”, appearing to link the rights group to the opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party's purported “revolution”. The CNRP - the

  • Rainsy and Sokha ‘would already be dead’: PM

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Sunday appeared to suggest he would have assassinated opposition leaders Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha had he known they were promising to “organise a new government” in the aftermath of the disputed 2013 national elections. In a clip from his speech

  • Massive ceremony at Angkor Wat will show ‘Cambodia not in anarchy’: PM

    Government officials, thousands of monks and Prime Minister Hun Sen himself will hold a massive prayer ceremony at Angkor Wat in early December to highlight the Kingdom’s continuing “peace, independence and political stability”, a spectacle observers said was designed to disguise the deterioration of

  • PM tells workers CNRP is to blame for any sanctions

    In a speech to workers yesterday, Prime Minister Hun Sen pinned the blame for any damage inflicted on Cambodia’s garment industry by potential economic sanctions squarely on the opposition party. “You must remember clearly that if the purchase orders are reduced, it is all