Tong Yang: Asian fusion with a twist

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Tong Yang Shabu-shabu and Barbecue is the (relatively) new all-you-can-eat grill-and-hotpot restaurant, run by the same people behind Vikings.

Think Yakimix minus the raw bar, or a fancier Wara-Wara restaurant (remember that gem?). The restaurant offers BOTH grill for your protein (a choice of beef, pork, shrimp, and a variety of seafood), and table-side built-in induction ovens for your shabu-shabu.

My partner ordered two different types of soup bases – seafood for himself, and laksa (curry-and-coconut soup) for me.  It’s then a do-it-yourself soup, where you can put anything and everything depending on your taste – and depending on what’s available.  There’s a variety of greens and other vegetables – cabbage, Chinese pechay, native pechay, white onions, etc.), plus the standard protein. 

Then the grilling: thinly-sliced portions of meat (a popular marketing strategy to cut cost) laid out on flat, square containers (great idea, saves space, as these can be stacked on top of the other), plus shrimps-in-shell, different kinds of seashells, and fish.

Shabu shabu with laksa soup base, one of the options for customers who want to try some signature Asian soup
Shabu shabu with laksa soup base, one of the options for customers who want to try some signature Asian soup

Meat was already marinated, or at least seasoned, so there was no need to add more salt. 

The flavors were just right. The laksa, for instance, is perfect balance sourness, sweetness, and spice. It was perfect for the thin slices of meat and shrimps which I unceremoniously dunked into the literal hot pot.

The meats were also seasoned the way I like it –there is a subtlety to the spices used, which means whoever was in the kitchen considered the palates of everybody.

The service crew were rather quick (but their supervisors could tone down the snootiness, especially Miss-manning-the-front-of-house. Because, duh!, you are manning the front of house, so a little courtesy won’t hurt).

And product knowledge won’t hurt, too (not knowing what cuts of beef are available, for instance). I still, for the life of me, couldn’t figure out what the supervisor said about the kind of beef served.

All in all, food was above average, but not that memorable (maybe we came at a busy time? Because I can count only four types of desserts available – not the rows and rows of sweets they had advertised in their page).  Plus, the absence of the raw bar was a bit of a downer for us.

Will we come back? Probably, but with a different strategy (maybe not start with the soup, which could satiate your early).

Rating: Three Forks

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