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
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.