With so many places offering $15 steamboats, why would you want to pay $35 just for a Pork Shabu Shabu? Well for me I rather go for quality rather than quantity. My daily calorie allowance is limited, so why spend my calories on 2nd rate slices of pork when you can have a platter of flowery pork shoulder like the picture above?
This was the first time I have ever set foot in Cuppage Plaza and I was just amazed at how many Japanese restaurants and Karaoke Bars there are here! What a Sua Gu (Ignoramus) am I! Cuppage Plaza is to the Japanese as Golden Mile Complex is to the Thais. It feels like a place where all the local Japanese go for a reasonably priced meal. So it is no surprise that Ohsumi is quite a popular place with the local Japanese.
Shabu Shabu is a simple and straightforward dish. Unlike our Chinese Steamboat where the emphasis is the boil lots of ingredients to make the soup tasty, in Shabu Shabu the emphasis is on savouring the natural flavour of the meat so they just to use the water to cook the meat. So they give you merely boiling water with few pieces of garlic in it rather than chicken broth. This way you get to savour the unadulterated flavour of the pork together with either the Ponzu or the Sesame sauce.
The Sesame Sauce here is excellent and they give you a generous pitcher of it. The pork shoulder we had was very good and dipping it into the sesame oil made it a rather simple but tongue tingling morsel indeed. 4/5 The beef was supposed to be US Prime Striploin, but I felt that it lacked the beefy flavour that I was yearning for. 3.5/5 This is a place where the pig reigns over the cow.
I ordered the Kurobuta Pork Loin after the first two plates, determined to find the best tasting pork Shabu Shabu and I am sure glad I did. Kurobuta or the Black Hog is to pork what Wagyu is to Beef. This special breed of Berkshire pig is well known for its excellent marbling and fragrant meat. I had a great Kurobuta dish at the Sage recently, and I wanted to know what Kurobuta really tastes like without the marinade. Wow, there WAS a distinct difference in the taste, aroma and texture compared to the normal pork! Kurobuta has a floral perfume to it and the texture was more springy….if all pork could be like this! Definitely worth paying extra for it. 4.5/5
If you come here, just go staight for the Kurobuta pork and forget about the beef! For those who eat a lot, the all you can eat buffet might be the way to go. If you don’t start with Kurobuta, you’d probably be quite satisfied with the normal pork. As they say, ignorance is bliss. For me, I think I have fallen in love with a little black pig.
Ohsumi Japanese Restaurant