Review: Shabu Sai Steamboat Buffet

To say I’m a steamboat fan is an understatement. Steamboat is more than a meal to me; it holds precious memories of Chinese New Year reunion lunches with my family, and those of visiting all-you-can-eat BBQ and steamboat joints when I was a child.  The mere experience of sitting round a table for a communal meal also became the cuisine of choice for dinner with friends, much to their chagrin at times. Fortunately for me, V loves steamboat too, and it’s become our little tradition.

Yet for a steamboat lover, I haven’t eaten at Shabu Sai until recently; V was hesitant from a bad experience from Suki-ya, a sukiyaki chain of similar concept. We first tried it over the weekend while shopping at Changi City Point and we fell in love.

We tried the yuzu collagen  (a permanent flavour) and the tonkotsu kimchi (seasonal flavour) soup bases and both did not disappoint. I usually stay away from Japanese suki-yaki and shabu-shabu as the soup bases tend to be on the sweeter end of the spectrum, but both these soups were savoury for a local palate.

The buffet selection isn’t large, but had most of what we needed and liked. Mainstays such as Chinese cabbage, enoki mushrooms are must-haves. The thinly sliced meat cooked quickly, and were fresher than those at Suki-ya. While some cuts of beef were clearly more fatty than others, they were still tasty and flavourful.

An interesting item available was the bamboo minced pork, which were seasoned well and mixed with some herbs and vegetables giving it a very light and aromatic flavour. However, it tends to break apart in the soup, so cook with caution. They are also wildly popular, so beware!

Another thing to take note is the 90-minute meal time, which is quite sufficient to have a satisfying steamboat meal.

Pricing depends on the time and day, check their Facebook for updated price. We paid about $32 each with added on unlimited drinks and ice cream on a Saturday evening. Multiple locations available.

Shabu Sai
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