Late night shopping and feeling peckish. I was at The Hyundai Seoul and I suddenly found myself spoilt for choice in what to eat. On floor B1, there was Tasty Seoul, a food court of some of the best delicacies the Korean capital has to offer. Notably, the layout of Tasty Seoul caters more to small parties and single diners, compared to others. You simply place your order at any of the food stalls and grab a table anywhere that is free. I chose Kangho Yeonpa, a Japanese hotpot restaurant.
Shabu-shabu is Japanese hotpot, consisting of meat, veg and noodles boiled at the dining table by the guests. A typical Shabu-shabu restaurant allows you to fill a bowl with your desired veg, noodles, tofu etc. which is then added to a hot pot alongside a board of your chosen meat. Once the water boils, you then “swish-swish” (shabu-shabu) your meat in the water until cooked, then dig in!
Because of my lifestyle, I often dine alone, as such I don’t visit shabu-shabu restaurants often. Like Korean BBQ or Chinese hotpot, shabu-shabu is a meal typically eaten in groups. In fact, I used to eat shabu-shabu a lot with my family and it is a heartwarming experience, knocking ladles in a race to spoon soup from the pot.
Without my family to share it with, I avoided places like this up until now. I felt as though the meal would be lacking in that togetherness I had felt in the past. However, when I saw the small pots and personal hot plates at Kangho Yeonpa, I felt different. I decided to go for it.
The bar table at Kangho Yeonpa consisted of settings for 1-2 people separated by plexiglass partitions as a Covid-19 prevention measure. If you do come in a larger group, the partition can be removed so you can enjoy your meal together. However, due to current Covid-19 restrictions in Seoul, only groups of 2 can dine out after 6:00pm.
The singular beef shabu set in spicy seafood stock was only 12,900 won. As you can see from the photo above, you get a hefty portion of meat and veg — a bargain for 12,900! Each set comes with a bamboo tray of assorted vegetables, meat, freshly-made knife noodles and your personal hot pot soup. You can order additional ingredients at a small price.
I actually wanted to try pyeonbaek-jjim, another Japanese dish consisting of meat and veg cooked in a cypress wood steamer. Pyeonbaek-jjim is extremely popular in Korea these days as health-conscious folk can eat it guilt-free. In fact, Kangho Yeonpa was sold out on the day of my visit! Nonetheless, I went for shabu-shabu instead.
The small, personal hot plates are fixed into the table and are really easy to use. When my tray of food arrived, I followed the traditional order of cooking shabu-shabu:
- Hard Vegetables (those that take longer to cook, i.e. potatoes, lotus root)
- Soft Vegetables (those that take a short amount of time to cook i.e. enoki, cabbage)
- Meat, in intervals
Once the ingredients are cooked to your liking, you can pour them out into your bowl and eat right away!
The broth was definitely spicy, as described, but not too much to overpower the natural flavours of the meat…I made sure to have a glass of water handy though. A big scoop of meat, veg and the spicy stock tasted amazing. Really flavourful and fresh!
Despite my initial doubts, I was able to enjoy my meal comfortably. The soup was hearty, the ingredients were good quality and the freshly made knife noodles were definitely a highlight. I would definitely come back to Kangho Yeonpa and Tasty Seoul at the Hyundai again, both alone or with friends. It is the perfect way to end a shopping trip… which I seem to do a lot these days!
Tasty Seoul (incl. Kangho Yeonpa) Address: Floor B1, Parc.1, 108 Yeoeuidae-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul Operating Hours: 10:30am - 10:00pm everyday Website: thehyundaiseoul.com