Shabu Shabu and Sushi Buffet
City Mall Shopping Center
855 12 208 383
Food served on a conveyor belt has always held a profound fascination for me. Admittedly, a lot of people really enjoy eating food in motion - maybe it appeals to our primitive hunting instincts, grabbing moving plastic trays of food. Phnom Penh, in yet another indication of its growing economic power (or something) now has its own place to get food on a conveyor belt: Shabu Shabu and Sushi Buffet.
My boyfriend is really tall and chronically hungry so the word "buffet" tends to get our attention. At Shabu Shabu, you pay $7.80 for 80 minutes of stuffing your face, which is a pretty good deal by Phnom Penh standards. You're led to a table and given a choice of broth for your personal-sized hotpot.
You then grab raw ingredients off the belt and dump them in the soup. Simple enough. There's also an assortment of sushi, cold dishes, some hot stuff (spring rolls and the like), ice cream, soda, and other food products. The decor is somewhere between Asian-futuristic and 50's buffet, with sappy Khmer music playing in the background. Personally, I find it rather charming. You can also mix up your own dipping sauces which is always endlessly entertaining for me.
The sushi is only okay, but there's a lot of it and they do make an effort to keep the variety up. If you are like my boyfriend and messily devour all of the crab-stick and shrimp sushi as soon as they set it out, they'll probably stop making it for a while. "They see me COMING," he's started to complain to me. Ah, Sushi Buffet, thou art a cruel mistress.
Admittedly, they may not be equipped for the appetites of 6'6 22 year olds at Shabu Shabu. The shabu-shabu element is quite tasty, mainly because shabu shabu is pretty hard to screw up due to its rather simple, interactive nature. There's usually a healthy variety of raw ingredients, some of them amusingly difficult to identify for your average Westerner. (WHAT ARE THOSE CRACKER THINGS I DON'T EVEN).
On the whole, the Shabu-Shabu Sushi Buffet is an entertaining change from the usual in Phnom Penh, as long as you're not out to experience the Art of Sushi or anything and derive as much pleasure as I do from grabbing little plates of uncooked bacon off a conveyor belt. Just don't stay past 80 minutes. You won't like what happens.
Okay, they actually just charge you a few bucks more, but it sounds cooler like that.