Dear Mr. Gold:
Is there any place specializing in Taiwanese shabu shabu around here? I need the soy mirin sauce with the garlic and peppers . . .
—Tara, Echo Park
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If by Taiwanese shabu shabu you mean the brutally simple Taiwanese version of Mongolian hot pot, you could hardly do better than Lu Gi on the western fringe of San Gabriel, in a mini-mall that looks as if it is in the process of being torn down but is not. A pot of liquid is set onto an induction burner in the middle of the table, separated by a metal membrane into a mellow, garlic-scented yin and a corrosively hot yang, and as in Japanese shabu shabu, you cook pink curls of meat, swishing them through the seething broth for a few seconds until they are just cooked. If you want to dip afterward, go ahead: Dip. Toss in vegetables, rice noodles, tofu if you want. Try a fish ball. Make sure to order plenty of beer. 539 W. Valley Blvd., San Gabriel, (626) 457-5111.