Why Happy Hotpot is one of the best Shabu Shabu places I've tried and why I won't go back anytime soon

Saturday, October 29, 2016


I am a cook-your-food-in-a-pot-of-hot-water kind of gal. My sister introduced me to the world of Shabu Shabu about 12 years ago, and I was hooked. Whether it be Korean hotpot, Japanese Shabu Shabu, or Chinese hotpot -I just love how you don't consume too much oil, and I get to eat a lot of veggies, plus the best part? The sauce.

I used to be close-minded about the whole shabu shabu thing. It was either Healthy Shabu Shabu in Rockwell or nothing at all and my husband used to make me try different restaurants but I wouldn't have it. And then as the years went by, a lot of other shabu shabu places started popping up so I had to keep up with the times. Fast forward to the present, I have tried several shabu shabu places and each restaurant is a different experience, and I have to admit, it's actually fun.

So let me tell you about our latest discovery and why I think it's one of the best hotpot places I have tried and why I won't be going back there -at least anytime soon.

Happy Hotpot (Dong Fang Huo Go), Dela Rosa corner Medina streets, Pio del Pilar, Makati

Happy Hotpot (Dong Fang Huo Go) is located in the corners of Dela Rosa and Medina streets in Pio del Pilar, Makati. It's across the south super highway from SM Hypermarket. You can Waze it too, just search for Dong Fang Huo Go instead of Happy Hotpot.
When we got to the restaurant, I suddenly became skeptic about the place. Since most of the photos you see of the restaurant were mostly taken at night or only the interior of the restaurant, I sort of became wary about pushing through with it -me being pregnant and all. But I convinced myself to go in because from the little reviews I saw of this place online, most of them positive.

Happy Hotpot is located on the second floor. The one on the ground floor is a hotpot place too but a different style, so I was told.
I first found out about Happy Hotpot through a foodie blogger. When I saw her title post that contained the words Hotpot and Szechuan, I read her blog post and got excited to go and give it a try. It's been a while since I last ate at a Szechuan Hotpot restaurant. Remember Little Lamb Hotpot Restaurant near Manila Hotel? But that one closed down. Booo.

So anyway, when we got there at 11:45A, the place had only a couple of tables occupied. But the food attendant said that it does get full so best to go a bit early if you would like to get a good table. When we left at close to around 1PM, it still was not full though.
Make sure that you get a table near an air-conditioner though. If you are getting the spicy Szechuan soup then I suggest staying near a fan or an air-conditioner because it can get literally hot and you'll be sweating like crazy.
It's a very casual dine-in place. -most people dining there wear slippers. Most customers are foreigners too, so the staff are very friendly and knowledgeable of their menu and can even make suggestions on where to start.
Raul said that they had a good selection of Chinese beer. They also have cans of milk available for the people who love the extra spicy soup! I honestly have not seen that in any Szechuan restaurant before. I really found that cool.
So, instead of the traditional menu, they hand you a tablet for ordering. You can view all the items in their menu by swiping your finger across as you would with a tablet. And then just click on the ones that you like to order and it automatically goes in your "cart". It's just like online shopping. The photos are pretty clear too.

They have a good selection of meat (mostly lamb) and just a few veggies though. A few meat balls and mushrooms too. If you are a noodle lover, they only have a couple of noodles available, egg noodles and udon noodles (they're called something else in Chinese though).

Speaking of menu, we were surprised to see that it was actually quite an expensive restaurant, specially for only two people in our table. If we wanted to order everything we wanted to eat from the menu, we would have reached more than PhP 1,000 per head, so in other words, you have to choose really well which ones you'd want to cook because it's pricey per plate with a price range of PhP 150-450 per raw ingredient.

You get a hefty serving (2-3 persons), but still, it is quite pricey. I guess it's safe to say that it's priced for tourists, specially if you are used to the other shabu shabu/hotpot places here in the metro where you pay PhP 550-650 for an all-you-can-eat place.
You are then given the choice of the level of spicy-ness of your soup: None spicy, mild, medium, or very spicy. Raul opted for medium (left) and I ordered the none spicy (right).
Just look how red that is! I enjoy a little spiciness to my soup so I added two scoops of Raul's soup to mine and it was just right for me.
Both soup had awesome flavor, and it's something I definitely haven't eaten in such a long time. A taste that Ganso Shabuway, Healthy Shabu Shabu, or Tong Yang doesn't have. Although King One Rotary Hotpot does have 9 selection of soups that includes Spicy Szechuan soup. They also have a wider selection of soup bases: Satay Soup, Century Egg Wansoy Soup, Plain Soup, Hong Kong Curry Soup, Korean Kimchi Soup, Thailand Tom Yan Soup, Hong Kong Style Pork Soup, and Superior Beef Soup.
After you place your order, you get to create your dipping sauce. I was a little bit worried too because they didn't have their own version of dipping sauce that you can just order. They only had plain ingredients like soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, or salt and sugar.
The food server though said that most of their Chinese and other foreign Asian costumers just add ShaCha Sauce to their house version of the very special sesame sauce.
This is their sesame sauce. It reminded me of the sesame sauce of Ganso Shabuway. I do like that one so I got a small bowl of this sauce.
But I couldn't eat hotpot with just this sauce, so the food server again suggested adding Fermented Bean Curd and Chive Sauce to plain soy sauce but that was too salty for me too. Being an ex-chef, I tried to recall the ingredients to make Japanese ponzu sauce, which I knew contained soy sauce, vinegar, lemon, rice vinegar, mirin, and a bit of cayenne. There are more ingredients there but I forgot already.
This is the closest I could get to ponzu sauce but it was quite good. It was a hybrid mixture of ponzu sauce and just plain shabu shabu sauce (minus the dashi taste). If you do decide to eat in this restaurant, try mixing soy sauce and vinegar (2 is to 1), and add a bit of sugar (just a pinch), freshly chopped garlic, and spring onions. It's pretty simple, but the taste is there. Slightly tangy that goes well with the sesame sauce.
I forgot to take a photo of the veggies that we ordered, but we ordered two: Chinese Cabbage and Spinach. They give a hefty serving of each order, really, it's for 2 to 3 persons. We also ordered another set of egg noodles, which in the menu, is just called "noodles". That one tastes better than the udon noodles for me.
Shimeji Mushroom
Bamboo Tofu sticks and udon noodles
Thin slices of Australian beef
The selection of balls that they have is freshly made, they do not serve processed ones and that's what I liked. Processed meat balls always make me palpitate after.

I wanted to order more ingredients to cook but it would add up to the bill and would cost more. Plus, it was just the hubster and I, and we were kind of filling up too! I guess this place is ideal for more than 2 heads to enjoy.
Freshly made fish balls
I wasn't able to take pics of us eating the shabu shabu because it was a huge mess. Overall experience, it was a good one because the soup base was really very good, the ingredients were fresh, and aside from the staff being dressed so casually -they were really very helpful, cheerful, and very pleasant.

In case if you were wondering if I would ever return to this place, I would say, not anytime soon. It's quite expensive to dine in at for a casual lunch or dinner and to be able to eat only a few ingredients. We spent PhP 1,995 for just the two of us. Although if you were to divide that amount to three heads, it still wouldn't have been worth it for PhP 665/head for just eight types of ingredients to cook.

So, this is what I meant about this restaurant being one of the best I have tried to date, but wouldn't be returning anytime soon -or ever.

Phone Numbers

+63 9478966019
+63 9266980888


Dela Rosa Corner Medina Street, Pio del Pilar, Makati City

Opening hours

24 Hours

Free wifi

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