Gokohai: All You Can Eat ‘Shabu Shabu’ in Shanghai

July 6, 2011 in China, Food, Reviews, Travel by pacejmiller

And so the posts from my March visit to China continue (I know, I know,  I’m too slow).

In recent years, I have become somewhat of a fan of the shabu shabu (ie, Japanese-style hot pot), especially the ones where you get your own pot and don’t have to share saliva with everybody else.  There’s not much of that in Sydney (at least none that are genuinely awesome and/or come at a reasonable price), so I made sure I took advantage in Shanghai.

The one we went to was a very popular one called Gokohai Shabu Shabu (though I only found out the English name when I saw the business card).  I believe there are 6 stores in Shanghai and we visited one of them (that’s all I know; more details at the end of this post).  There were two floors and both allowed smoking (unfortunately), but we were lucky to get a separate room, though it was one of those where the table is real low and the there is a hole underneath it for you to slide your legs.  Not the most comfortable seating arrangement but it was better than inhaling the cigarette smoke (in addition to the hot pot smoke).

The best thing about Gokohai is that it’s an ‘all you can eat’ shabu shabu, meaning you can just keep ordering plates upon plates of succulent meats, fresh vegetables and all the condiments you want (only one scoop of ice cream for dessert per person though and drinks are extra).  However, unlike most such places, the quality of the meat and vegetables is exquisite.  The thinly sliced beef literally melts in your mouth.  And the sauces and condiments are simply sublime.

Let me explain through the crappy quality photos I took with an iPhone (sadly the camera battery died).

Everyone gets a dish of these condiments.  On the right is a stack of spring onions which I simply love.  In the middle is a wedge of lemon and crushed garlic (mmm) and on the left are balls of carrot and radish.  You mix whatever you want from this plate with soy sauce, vinegar, and/or this sensational sesame paste sauce that I couldn’t get enough of.

Check out the vegies you get at the start.  I don’t like tofu, but everything else on this plate I polished off.  And I got a few more plates after this too.

Everyone gets their own pot, which looks just like this.

Chuck in the stuff, wait until it’s cooked, then eat away!

Look at this beef, and try to imagine what it would look like if my camera hadn’t died.  We must have gotten a zillion plates of these.

I can honestly say it was one of the most satisfying shabu shabu experiences I’ve ever had.  And with a price range around 100-199 RMB, it was well worth it.

9 out of 10

Address: 1720 Huaihai Lu (near Wuxing Lu), Shanghai (French Concession district)
Phone: 021-6471 7657

(Don’t think this is the store we went to but I think it’s the main store).