When you think of BBQ in Asia, you probably think about Korean BBQ or Japanese yakiniku/yakitori. What you may not know is that, Thailand also has a wide range of Thai BBQ dishes and one of the most popular ones is Mookata. This dish popularity is so widespread that it is a cuisine on its own. But what is this dish about? Previously, we have covered other Thai dishes like Thai BBQ pork and chicken and Jim Jum hotpot, now it’s time for you to learn more about Mookata with us!
Table of Contents
What is Mookata?
“Moo” means pork in Thai and “kata” means pan. You can tell from the name “Mookata” that this dish involves grilling pork on a pan. In simple terms, Mookata is a BBQ meal where you can grill fresh meat on a hot pan just like Korean BBQ or Japanese yakiniku. However, this dish goes beyond that by also providing a section with hot soup for you to boil vegetables. The part with boiling soup is similar to what you have in a regular hotpot.
Traditionally, the pan used for this BBQ dish would have an elevated grilling section in the middle. Then, the lower surrounding section would be filled with soup for boiling meat/vegetables. While the name Mookata might suggest that it involves grilling pork, you can grill a limitless variety of meat and seafood including pork, chicken, beef, squid, prawn, etc. The meal also often involves fresh vegetables and noodles!
Apart from the grill/boil combination, the sauce for Mookata is also unique which makes this dish truly a Thai BBQ cuisine. This dish can be enjoyed both indoors and outdoors. In fact, an outdoor Mookata meal with a great view and nice breeze would make the meal a lot more enjoyable.
Sauces to enhance the experience
Thais love sauces, and you would often find multiple types of sauce in a Mookata meal.
This might be a bit confusing to those who are familiar with international cuisine since Thai sukiyaki sauce has nothing to do with the Japanese one. This red sauce is often served in hotpot meals. In fact, it was popularized by Thailand’s largest hot pot chain, MK restaurant. However, Thais found out that this sauce when combined with lime, raw garlic, and chili also goes surprisingly well with grilled meat. That explains why you will find such sauce at every Mookata meal (also because boiled vegetables can be found in Mookata meals as well).
Nam Jim Jaew
This staple North-eastern Thailand sauce adds spicy and sour taste to every meal, Mookata included. We have a dedicated article to talk about Nam Jim Jaew in case you want to learn more about this Thai seafood dipping sauce. This sauce is made from lime, fish sauce, garlic, and chili which traditionally goes well with seafood. It is a very versatile sauce and it is just as great when served in a Mookata meal.
Thai seafood dipping sauce
This is a Thai sauce made from lime, fish sauce, garlic and chili that you will find with most seafood dishes in Thailand – however, this sauce is just as great with when served in Mookata as well.
One of the most common formats of Mookata in Thailand is the Mookata buffet. It is available in a la carte format as well, however, they tend to be on the premium side.
In such a buffet, every table will be equipped with a Mookata pan. Then diners can self-service themselves with unlimited fresh ingredients such as meat, seafood, vegetables, and noodles. You can also mix and match your own sauces, and spice them with lime, chili, or garlic to your liking.
A Mookata buffet meal in Thailand can be as cheap as THB 200-300 per head. However, it can also go up to THB600 – THB800 for more premium settings/ingredients.
When we mentioned Mookata’s popularity in Thailand, we were not joking. Thais eat out when they want to have this BBQ dish, but they can also make it at home or order delivery. There are many ways to do this
1) Many Thai households own an electric pan for Mookata (we own one as well). You can then easily make the meal at home yourself or order from a restaurant with a delivery service.
2) You order a complete set and kit from a restaurant. In this format, a restaurant would lend you their pot/pan for the day, then come pick it up at night/the next day (along with the ingredients, sauces etc.).
Many families prefer to make their Mookata meal at home or order for delivery. This is because this way they can supplement ingredients/sauces on their own which tend to be cheaper overall!
Is this 2-in-1 grill and boil dish worth-trying?
Mookata is a famous Thai dish, popular both in Thailand and overseas. We know for sure that Mookata is very popular in neighboring Asian countries like Singapore as well (you can find a lot in the Golden Mile complex in Singapore!). To fully immerse in Thai cuisine culture, you should definitely try this dish to understand why it’s so popular! For the most authentic experience, try it when you are in Thailand.
We love Mookata because it offers both grilling and boiling of meat and vegetables. If you are eating with a group and some love boiled food and the others love grilled food, this dish offers a perfect balance of both types!
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