My apologies for the mini-hiatus that followed the mini-dinner party. Sadly, upon reflection of my posts, I have become aware of how narcissistic blogging can be. Furthermore, I have come to realize that so far, I have only fulfilled half of what I claimed to be this blog’s objective. That being said, enough show-casing of my gradually accumulating culinary repertoire, for now, and onto equally important eating excursions. As I have mentioned in earlier posts and such, Hawaii is comprised of a semi-wide range of cuisines. I say ‘semi’ only because there are often times I find myself eating some version of the same thing, especially since Hawaii is well-known for their ‘plate lunches’ and other such wonderfully simple and filling plates.
However, due to this omnipresent comfort food, anything remotely out of this domain of food is usually considered fairly ‘new’ and ‘hip.’ For example, I have only been to one restaurant in town during my time here that specializes solely in Shabu Shabu. It’s either because there aren’t many restaurants that are popularized by this dish or probably more so because I’m biased and haven’t sought out such restaurants. I realize that Shabu Shabu is all the craze amongst many, but I had quite the unfortunate experience of Shabu Shabu indigestion in Korea when I was younger and have never liked the dish since.
Well, that was the case until I tried Sweet Home Cafe. This quaint and cozy, no longer hole-in-the-wall, place really drew me into the Shabu Shabu craze. For those of you who have been there, you know that the up-to-one-hour wait is most definitely worth it. For those of you who have not yet had the pleasure, please do yourself the favor! I seriously started the wide spread trend within the restaurant I work at and I’m sure once you’ve been there, you won’t be able to keep this secret to yourself.
On 2334 S. King St next to Moili’ili Long’s and Pizza Hut etc, this restaurant prides itself in the Taiwanese hot pot. With a menu consisting of up to 12 different types of broths (Seafood, Spicy, Healthy Herb, Vegetable, Lemongrass, and more), 4 different meats, 15 homemade sauces, and 3 fridges full of add-ins, the combination options seem endless.
At first, this out-of-ordinary dining style may seem overwhelming and confusing as it was for me, but let me break it down for you. Once you have the privilege of being seated in the actual restaurant from waiting outside, you choose your broth. You can even choose two broths, in which case they split the pot with a divider. After you choose your broth (I highly recommend Seafood, Spicy, and House), you choose your meat. There’s beef, beef tongue, pork, and lamb. You can choose each one, it’s really up to you. Then, you head over to the different fridges and you choose as many add-ins as your excited stomach can handle. These add-ins include different vegetables and seafood that are price coordinated by color plates. Once you bring your dishes from the fridge, you can go back to get several petri-dishes of sauces for dipping. By this point, the hot pot is probably cooking at your table and once the broth is heated to the desired degree, you can begin bombarding it with all the meat, vegetables and seafood surrounding you. I’m sure by now, everything else is self-explanatory.
What’s also amazing about this place is their service. The family that runs this joint is not only hospitable, but also has a great sense of humor that is evident in some of the jokes they crack throughout your meal. Now, although the temptation to indulge in sinful gluttony is undoubtedly hard to resist, please save it for dessert.
Yeah, I was pretty serious about that one. After such a fantastically filling meal, you get to top it all off with this amazing shave ice dessert that is, can you believe it?!, on the house. It’s the perfect sweet note to end the meal on especially since the hot pot gets you warm and steamy. This mountain of delicious shave ice is covered in different flavors of tapioca, jelly, pudding, some strawberries and condensed milk. No matter how stuffed you may be, I suggest you unbutton your jeans and start shoveling that mountain with your spoon. The fleeting remorse of temporary weight gain and uncomfortable fullness are truly nothing compared to this unforgettable experience.
Sweet Home Cafe
2334 South King St.
Honolulu, HI 96826
Mon-Sun: 5 pm – 12 am.