The Beef Balls from Chuan Shabu on Park Avenue in Worcester, MAVisiting Chuan Shabu’s “hot pot” restaurant is an experience to be had by all – at least once! Nestled right on Park Avenue, next to Baba Sushi, there is plenty of parking in the lot behind the restaurant.

If you like Vietnamese phở, you will enjoy Chuan Shab‘s experience—it is similar food but, you get to actually create and customize your soup….. and have fun doing it! The menu is set-up similar to a sushi menu where you simply check off what you want, in this case being your soup ingredients, from a choice of 9 broths, to the meats/veggies, and down to one of the 5 noodle choices. I was dining with a group of 5 therefor we came to consensus on what ingredients would create our dining masterpiece.

The experience starts with your choice of broth being placed on the burner built into the center of your table (we split a pot separating the standard and herbal). Then all the ingredients are placed on your table—space was a little tight so we simply mingled some items to get rid of extra plates. Did I mention you get to also create your own dipping sauce? The broths tasted quite similar like phở broth (which is like a mild chicken broth with hints of herbs). I did get a chance to try our neighbors’ Mala broth—boy,  was it spicy, but delicious; I will definitely get that on my next visit! The broth bowl is large so everyone can toss in a couple ingredients of their choice at the same time. I love my veggies and I liked that I could cook them to the perfect firmness. Not being a huge meat eater, I will say I surprisingly enjoyed the “beef balls.” While on the subject, there was plenty of seafood items to choose from as well. We waited until the end to cook our fresh noodles as the broth was even tastier by then! I was daring and ordered the ‘fish noodles’, they presented similar to a thin fettucine noodle. Very tasty and not too fishy, they would’ve been perfect if they were a little thicker so you could get that ‘al dente’ texture.

There is a full bar and I have to mention that I had the chance to try a pomegranate cocktail that consisted of Raspberry vodka, pomegranate juice and lychee juice. And, the waitstaff was great, no pressure to ‘turn tables.’

All in all, if you like fresh food, hot soup and getting together with some pals in a relaxing environment, you’ll enjoy the experience of Chuan Shabu! I’m sure it would be a great place for a couple’s romantic night out as ambience from the lighting well as it was lit lambently lit.