Shabu Hyang (샤브향) is a reasonably priced and relaxed dining spot with a friendly atmosphere and delicious fusion food consisting primarily of Vietnamese and Korean elements. It has a spacious, bright interior of tan faux-brick with comfortable booths that give it a clean, cozy feeling conducive to long get-togethers. If you feel like a large group meal that isn’t as greasy as standard Korean dining fare, then it provides a nice alternative.
The shabu shabu (샤브샤브) meal combines fresh and savory elements which makes it a good choice for gatherings of people with mixed dietary needs. There are enough vegetables and sauces to satisfy the vegetarian pallet but enough meat for the omnivores of the group. Because the meal has a hot soup at its center, it is classically considered a winter dish but the vegetable wraps make it light enough for year-round dining. The menu also includes classic Vietnamese dishes like Pho, and several Korean-Vietnamese fusion dishes like spicy grilled noodles.
For those unfamiliar with shabu shabu, it is the Japanese version of the classic Chinese hot pot. The meal is composed of thin slices of meat or seafood with a colorful variety of fresh vegetables, clear rice paper wrappers and an assortment of light and delicious sauces. The vegetables include Korean sprouts, mixed lettuce and greens and thinly cut carrot, onion, cucumber, beets, Chinese cabbage and straw mushrooms. The main courses are served with a modest variety of Korean side dishes and there are numerous Pan-Asian sides that can be added (such as pot-stickers and spring rolls) to round out the meal.
Be prepared for a do-it-yourself meal in the manner of galbi or samgyupsal, consisting of three courses: meat and vegetable summer rolls, noodles, and rice. You start the meal by putting some of the greens, vegetables, and meat into the pot of steaming broth in the center of the table, followed by the meat. You then dip sheets of clear, round, rice paper into small bowls of hot water and, once they are soft, put in your preferred vegetables and meat. Dip the resulting rolls in an assortment of flavorful sauces and be prepared for a burst of flavors that will only leave you wanting more. At the end of this first course, you or your server adds noodles to the remaining broth at the center of the table. For the third and last course, you or your server adds a bowl of rice with spices and a wedge of cooked Korean pumpkin and puts it in the remainder of the broth, mixing it until you get a spicy and creamy bowl of rice porridge that provides a savory and hearty finish to the meal.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind when dining at Shabu Hyang. First, you will be given the choice of mild or spicy broth; so if you don’t like strong, aromatic pepper, mild might be a good option. Second, since not all of the waiters speak English, you will have to be very clear about what you want; however the menu does include photos to help facilitate effective communication.
Shabu Hyang (샤브향) is a good alternative to standard Korean fare. The food is flavorful and fresh, the staff is friendly, and the prices are quite reasonable. We at The Dish highly recommend it.
Directions: From LG Best Shop, cross Sejong-ro (세종로) and turn left at the Domino’s Pizza. Pass that and keep walking until you see a Hi Mart on your right. It is the second restaurant in the next building as you walk.
Price Range: ₩11,000-₩24,000
Shabu Shabu Sets: ₩11,000-₩17,000 per serving; Seafood Shabu Shabu Sets: ₩16,000-₩24,000; Extra Sides: ₩3,000-₩9,000; Lunch Special Sets: ₩9,000-₩15,000 from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Dish Pick: The basic shabu shabu set is a deal at ₩11,000
Hours: 11:30 a.m.-10:00 p.m.
Address: 세종특별자치시 조치원읍 침산리 216-5
NOTE: There is also a Shabu Hyang located in Sejong near Cheotmaeul Apartments.