Shabu Shabu Gyu Jin – Where they have the Japanese Wagyu Nailed

Did somebody say Free-flow Japanese Wagyu?

The moment that escaped her lips, there was no holding me back from the sacrilegious affair that was unravelling in my mind. Thin slices of well-marbled beef swished briefly through a gently boiling dashi broth, curling irrefutably from the heat and then coated in a salacious raw rich egg yolk before it graces the mouth. I imagined how much I could eat in excess in a time span of 90-mins, the impending doom marked by the several Japanese stopwatches just outside the kitchen spurring my cause. But that's not all at Shabu Shabu Gyu Jin, a sprawling labryinth of semi-private dining rooms and large communal dining spaces set on the third floor of 100AM mall in Tanjong Pagar, you can have you quality meats served authentic Shabu-Shabu and Sukiyaki style or even on the barbecue, Yakiniku style, should you wish. The hardest part is making that choice.

The atmosphere here is breezy and relaxed, splicing work casual with inner city cool. Space is a commodity and Shabu Shabu Gyu Jin provides loads of that, the space between tables (and conversations) adding to the pageantry of dining, allowing patrons to navigate the crowds with ease to access their greens and condiments. Having a time limit set on your all-you-can-eat meals can be a bit intimidating; the walk in alone traversing by stockpiles of fresh leafy greens and still pots of Japanese curry, all a little too much to take in - so let me give you a low-down of what to expect.

If your choice is Shabu-Shabu, as I did. There's the option of American beef ($31.90 for 70mins), Australian Wagyu ($40.90 for 90mins) and finally the premium Japanese First Class Wagyu ($72.90 for 90mins); all of which come with free-flow orders of pork ribs, loin and chicken thigh as well! Come lunch, the pace is picked up with just 50minutes at your disposal and wallet friendly prices set at ($20.90 for Black Angus Beef, $28.90 for Australian Wagyu and $56.90 for Japanese Wagyu). After deciding on your meats, we move on to the choices of Dashi broth. Each table is limited to 2 out of the 5 varieties (Hidaka Kelp, Yuzu Salt, Savoury and Spicy, Suki and Creamy salted Rice Malt).  Purist should stick by the original, the Hidaka Kelp, whereas if you're like me with a penchant for the rich and creamy, the Creamy Salted Rice Malt Dashi, perfumed with a subtle ginger note is perfect.

Here, little is done to camouflage the provenance of the Japanese Wagyu. It's a delicate undertaking that arrives at the table wildly marbled and sliced paper thin, have it on its own or dipped in either the sesame sauce or ponzu. The former laced with a feisty yuzu edge makes it incredibly piquant and fabulous in splicing through the richness of the beef while the latter tackles a see-saw of sweet and salty flavours that enlivens even the most basic plain tofu.

Aside from the indulgent meaty affair, indulge in the large variety of greens at the Shabu Shabu Gyu Jin all-you-can-eat buffet. These abide by the same stringent Japanese standards, some of which are imported straight in from Japan to ensure authenticity - burdock root and 3 types of mushrooms? Yes, we weren't kidding when we boasted about the range. Noodle lovers will revel in the Konnayaku noodles while carb fans will get fairly acquainted with the steaming buckets of free-flow Japanese rice flanked by a heart-warming pot of carrot and potato studded Japanese curry on the side.

To round up your meal, proceed to the ice cream station and indulge in a tri-coloured scoop for good measure. Results are felicitous for sure. In fact, you might even consider devising your own affogato for a quick caffeinated kick.

Shabu Shabu Gyu Jin is a stalwart amongst the numerous hotpot purveyors, untainted by gimmicks and priding itself on delivering quality over tacky embellishments. Being a purist at heart, the joint wins me over and the intoxicating flavour of the marbled beef leaves my lips smacking for more. Eating here is money well spent, and I will be back for sure.

Shabu Shabu Gyu Jin
100 Tras Street, #03-10
itadakimasu by PARCO
t: 6538 1820

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