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Fresh & Affordable Buffet Hotpot @ Shabu-Yo, BBCC LaLaport, Kuala Lumpur

Malaysians are spoiled for choice when it comes to hotpot options. To name a few:

  • Hai Di Lao – known for their exceptional customer-oriented service (some outlets even provide manicures while you wait!)
  • Beauty in the Pot – specializes in nourishing collagen soups that are purportedly good for the skin.
  • Suki-Ya, an affordable halal Japanese hotpot chain.

With so many choices, there’s probably a hotpot chain for you out there, no matter the preference. But if an affordable price point and fresh food is what you’re looking for, then Shabu-Yo ticks all the right boxes.

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One of the newer entrants to the Malaysian market, Shabu-Yo is Japan’s largest shabu-shabu chain with close to 300 stores in its home country. They opened their first outlet in Sunway Velocity back in 2020, then Sunway Pyramid a year later. Their third store in BBCC Lalaport Kuala Lumpur welcomed diners in April 2022 – and it was here that the Hubs and I stopped for a late lunch over the weekend.

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Before you dine-in, choose whether you want the all in course (Beef+Pork+Chicken), or just the Pork and Chicken. We went for the latter, as it was cheaper and we prefer pork anyway. There’s also an Australian Wagyu course if you’re looking to splurge.

Staff members are friendly and well trained. We were asked if it was our first time (yes) and then shown around to the different buffet sections before they brought us to our table.

The interior looks warm and cozy, and is designed to look like a traditional Japanese ryokan or eatery. The dining area is lit up by dozens of lights hanging from the ceiling, with booth seating, overarching wooden beams, and wooden partitions for privacy.
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There are a few soup bases to choose from. We got the Chicken and Pork, accented with goji berries, and the Japanese ‘amber’, which had a beautiful golden colour. Other choices include Sukiyaki, Yuzu, and Tomato.
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You order the meat from a tablet at your table. Just key in the quantities you want, place your order, and voila!

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We got started with one of each item: pork collar, pork belly, chicken, and tsukune (a combination of minced pork and chicken served in a faux bamboo stalk. The pork meat was fresh and tasty, especially the pork collar which had a great balance of lean and fat. I also recommend the tsukune. I thought it would be dry, but it was soft, moist, and juicy. The chicken wasn’t as fresh though, so we had that one plate and only got pork refills afterward.

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In Japan, raw egg is usually given as a dipping sauce when you eat shabu-shabu or sukiyaki. If you haven’t tried it, I suggest giving it a go! The heat of the meat fresh from the pot cooks the egg slightly, lending it a smooth, silky texture, while also elevating the flavours of the meat.

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Having sampled our first round, I then hopped over to the buffet section proper to see what they have in store. The dipping sauce station carries a large variety of condiments, including soy sauce, vinegar and sesame oil, goma, ponzu, homemade chilli, and more.
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The vegetable bar. What I noticed: A lot of fresh vegetables, and less processed foods. Most hotpot chains will have more of the latter with items like hotdogs, cheese tofu, processed seafood balls, etc. A plus point for the health conscious, I guess?
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The fried food station had karaage, takoyaki, and fries. The karaage here is delicious! I know it’s a ‘cardinal sin’ at hotpots to eat anything other than the ‘expensive’ items if you’re looking to get your money’s worth, but the karaage here is just too good. Well marinated, crispy on the outside, moist and juicy on the inside. The takoyaki was excellent as well, with a sizable chunk of octopus enveloped within.
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Another cardinal sin: getting rice. I couldn’t resist though, as they had beef curry. It was another winner in my book. Flavourful and as far as Japanese curries go, not too sweet.
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If you’re the kind that must have carbs, Shabu-Yo has a few types of noodles for you to choose from as well.
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After several rounds of meat, we were feeling pretty stuffed – so time for dessert! There’s an ice cream machine with vanilla and matcha-flavoured ice cream, which you can customize with various toppings.

I was surprised at the quality of the ice cream. At most of the other hotpot buffets I’ve tried, their ice-cream tends to be more ‘icy’, with a higher content of ice than cream, almost like a sorbet. The version here, however, is creamy and rich, almost like McDonald’s ice-cream sundae.

Aside from ice-cream, they also have a waffle machine if you’re craving something more substantial.

All in all, I think Shabu-Yo is a great option for those looking for fresh food at a relatively affordable price. Selection wise, I don’t think they have a lot of items as compared to, say, places like WagyuMore, but what they do have is of excellent quality.

Our buffet lunch for two on a weekend cost about RM112, inclusive of taxes.

SHABU-YO

Lot G-78 & 79, Gourmet Street, Mitsui Shopping Park LaLaport Bukit Bintang, 2, Jalan Hang Tuah, Kuala Lumpur City Centre, 55100 Kuala Lumpur

Opening hours: 12PM – 9PM (daily)

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