Hippot Shabu Shabu

I remember watching the sign go up for Hippot this fall, not particularly excited for another Shabu Shabu place in Chinatown. But the sub $9 lunch special advertised outside the restaurant was too good to not at least try once.

Seaweed, mung beans, peanuts, and spicy cucumbers were brought out as soon as I sat down.

Looking at the lunch special menu, I was immediately impressed and softened by the number of broth choices (5), protein platters (5), and noodles (7). All pots come with one choice of each for $8.25, except if you choose the seafood which is $10.25 .

Just as quickly as we were seated and brought the little Asian amuse bouches, we ordered and received our bowls of broth. They began bubbling soon after being placed on the table top heaters.

For one bowl, I picked pork bone broth with pork slices, naturally. Served raw, these cooked in a matter of seconds. For the other, tom yum broth with seafood.  Both came with spinach, 2 types of mushrooms, and tofu skin. The seafood plate had a nice assortment: 2 plump, head on shrimp, 2 scallops,  pieces of squid, and teeny clams-  it is easy to share equitably if you are with a friend.  The clean smelling seafood seemed fresh. The creatures also cooked quickly and they worked well with the tom yom.

The tom yom broth had a little more flavor, and a great aroma.  But the key to a flavorful meal here is found at the sauce station.

[Edit: It looks like Simply Shabu has also added a tom yom broth]

I whipped up a super garlicy sauce and dipped most things in it, though a sesame- peanut- chili oil was also nice.

After most of my proteins were dunked, I cooked the noodles. Then I spooned my garlic sauce, broth, and noodles in to my bowl for a stomach filling noodle soup (twice, one for each broth type).

At Simply Shabu, I had no desire to drink the broth- making me Team Hippot, for sure. I liked being full of fresh ingredients for cheap and the speed of the service but leisurely pace of the actually dining and dipping.

If I wanted to jack up my bill, I might have dabbled with some add ins; some of the dumplings, seafood, and something called “homemade slides” that look like ground meat you plop in to the boiling broth to cook. That actually sounds pretty fun. There are even two pages devoted to “balls.”  (Hey, Wayne! Always devoted to yours, obviously)

But for this lunch, I kept it cheap, simple, and ball-less.

White fungus dessert? Maybe just a spoonful.

Have you shabu-ed in Philly yet?

THE + (What somebody who likes this place would say)

  • A full interactive meal for under $10

THE – (What somebody who doesn’t like this place would say)

  • I have no sense of how long to cook things

Hippot,  1002 Arch Street, 215 928-8838



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