If there is a cuisine that I am always craving, it would have to be any type of hot pot or shabu. Even though the weather is quite warm in Hawaii, just eating hot pot and cooking it in delicious broth makes me very happy. I stumbled across Asuka for shabu when I went to my favorite boba place on the island which is Cowcow Tea. I recently wrote an article for their popular purple rice and yogurt drink so check out my page to find the article. Located right next door, Asuka Shabu offers authentic shabu sets without breaking the bank. I did a walk-in right when they open and was luckily enough to grab a table that someone canceled on. I would suggest calling ahead and making a reservation beforehand to ensure you get seating since this place gets pretty popular. They have multiple booths around the restaurant where there is a wooden covering between you and the next table so it felt safe for indoor dining.
I went for the spicy Osaka sukiyaki which is a blend of their Osaka sukiyaki and spicy umakura base for the perfect balance of sweetness and spiciness. You can also pay for their premium soup bases which cost an additional $4. Select the type of meat you want (ranges from beef to pork to lamb etc) and it also comes with a platter of vegetables like zucchini, carrots, cabbage, spins, tofu blocks, and udon noodles. You also get to choose the type of rice which I went with the gokoku-mai which is mixed grains. Once you order, the food comes out quickly and they heat the broth for you. If you drank too much of the broth, you can ask for refills. The meat comes out with its platter and is nicely plated. Upon sipping the broth, it was rich and very umami. While I chose the spicy, it was the perfect level of spiciness and not the type where you have to drink a lot of water to cool it down. It was fun to cook each item and the food was more than enough for one person. I can see this as a great place to go during the cold and rainy days since the food immediately warms you up. While it can be pricey since it starts at $23+, you get a full meal since there is meat, soup, vegetables, and noodles to finish it off.
The service was also very attentive and friendly. I was able to finish my meal within thirty minutes since everything was very efficient and quick. Located in the Kaimuki neighborhood, you’ll have to find street parking but there are nearby parking garages as well. If you’re looking for a great shabu place in Kaimuki, give Asuka a try and let me know your thoughts in the comments below.