Jeffrey Chon and Randy Nguyen Open Tabu Shabu in Huntington Beach

Written By: Chelsea Raineri
Photographed By: Jakubek Photography and Tabu Shabu Tabu Shabu

Huntington Beach has many foodie hot spots, but when thinking about the various restaurants to check out, Huntington Harbor isn’t the first place that comes to mind. Tabu Shabu is changing that. Located off Warner Avenue in the Huntington Harbor Mall, this hidden gem is definitely a spot worth trying.

“We want to stay with our roots from our Costa Mesa location by being in a local, tight-knit California coastal community where we can really introduce something new and healthy,” said CEO and Founder Jeff Chon.

Tabu Shabu is unique in both interior design and menu selection. Shabu experts and novices alike will feel at ease here with a friendly, helpful staff who are more willing to share tips on how to make the ultimate hot pot.

The first thing you’ll notice when you step into the restaurant is how chilled the room is. No longer will you need to sacrifice shabu when the summer heat rolls in. You’ll next notice the layout of the restaurant – one large, rectangular, marble counter that takes up the majority of the space; think sushi bar meets Teppan table, creating a communal environment. As you walk in you’ll immediately be greeted by various welcomes from the warm staff, including Randy Nguyen, owner of the Huntington Beach location. As you take your seat at an open spot, you’ll hear hit songs like Five More Hours by Deorro and Chris Brown.

Once you’re seated and have made your drink selection, your server will then guide you through the experience that is hot pot. First step: Choose a broth. There are four different kinds of broths, but with the many ways to flavor them, you can personalize it to taste. If you enjoy a kick, the spicy miso broth is very popular among Tabu Shabu diners. For a sweeter taste, the sukiyaki is similar to teriyaki and comes with a pasteurized egg that you can dip your meat in. Love Top Ramen? Try the tonkotsu pork broth for a more mature way to enjoy a childhood favorite. Finally, the kombu is a traditional seaweed flavoring.

All dishes come with your choice of Japanese white rice or organic brown rice, and a plate of locally grown veggies and udon noodles that you can substitute with zero carb shirataki noodles.

The next step is to pick your protein and the size of bowl you want. Select from various high-quality meats and seafood including the very popular Wagyu Kobe short rib, jidori free-range organic chicken, Mexican wild shrimp, and many more. The sizes range from a four-ounce regular size bowl to a half-pound extra large. You can also choose to have double vegetables only, a combination of two types of meat, or the ambitious Mega Man that includes one pound of any protein.  

Once your broth is cooking on the personal stovetop in front of you, you’re able to flavor it, as well as your two dipping sauces – peanut sesame and citrus soy sauce. With options like green onions, garlic, soy sauce, and more, you’ll be able to customize your soup and sauces to your liking. Feeling daring? Add a hot drop, extract of chili pepper, into your sauces.

Next, add in your hard veggies. Once they’re soft, dip them into your dipping sauces and enjoy them with your rice. Now comes the meat that cooks within mere seconds in the broth.  Once cooked, dip them in your sauces or pasteurized egg.

Once you’ve finished your meat, your server will pour your broth and remaining veggies into a bowl. You can now add in your noodles, and enjoy your creation!

If you’re looking for a fun, healthy way to dine head over to Tabu Shabu for a meal that won’t disappoint, and an experience that will keep you coming back.

“We encourage everyone to play and have fun with their food. Hence our slogan, ‘Go on, play with your food,'” said Nguyen.  

Tabu Shabu
Huntington Harbor Mall
16821 Algonquin St
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
Delicious Food and a Fun Experience at Tabu Shabu

About The Author

Born and raised in Orange County, Chelsea is a local through and through. A true foodie at heart, you can find Chelsea face first in a grilled cheese or in line for the latest food craze. A Magna Cum Laude graduate from Chapman University, she is excited to bring her passion for writing, editing, and all things trendy to Locale Magazine.

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