‘Mookata’ loosely translates from Thai to mean ‘pork’ and ‘skillet’. It originates from Northern Thailand, though one may argue how its signature ‘dome-shaped hotpot’ came about. My favourite version is the origin story about how the soldiers in Chiang Mai grilled meat using their helmets, eventually creating the metal dome-shaped hotpot we see today.
To eat mookata, you first have to lather the pork lard provided (yes, not butter or oil, but pork lard) to grease the metal skillet, on which you then grill the meat. The dome’s surface eventually heats up till sizzling, while the soup is poured into the moat surrounding the skillet. Traditional mookata in Thailand use only plain water, but the version in Singapore has been tweaked to use flavoured broth.
The lightness of the soup allows the broth to easily take up the essences of the grilled meat juices that flow down, mixing together with the boiled vegetables to create a flavourful and rich soup.
I love having mookata because it’s an amalgamation of barbeque and steamboat–the best of both worlds. It’s casual fun to bond with family and friends while sharing a mookata pot.
Lastly, you can enjoy a mookata without the stress of having to dress up! Skip your fancy attire and enjoy the conviviality of exchanging banter while grilling succulent meat at the table.
If you like what you’re reading, then here are the best 14 places in Singapore to enjoy mookata with your friends and family.
Tom Yum Kungfu has an eclectic, retro-pop feel in their restaurant at Circular Road. The interior is filled with bright warm colours with neon elements, portraying a quirky and charming vibe (the owner used to be an interior designer). Their clear broth is boiled from vegetables, pork bones and crabs; a rather light broth but with satisfying umami and seafood sweetness. They also use charcoal as their fuel.
Although the seafood selection from the set isn’t fantastic, I found the marinated meat (chicken thigh and pork collar) succulent and tender after grilling. If you’re looking for something that is both straightforward and satisfying, try the BBQ Steamboat Set for two (S$39.90).
They also have a rather interesting a la carte menu with more uncommon items, such as venison meat and homemade fish paste. Tom Yum Kung Fu serves not only mookata, but also offers quite a decent selection of Thai dishes. They are another of my top picks for mookata restaurants in Singapore.
16 Circular Road, Singapore 049372
+65 6536 1646
Mon to Fri: 11.45am – 2.30pm & 6pm – 10.30pm
Sat: 6pm – 10.30pm
Closed on Sun
Siam Square Mookata is hardly a new face in the rampant mookata scene in Singapore. Mookata enthusiasts might recall Siam Square’s first outlet at Havelock Road, but have little knowledge of the passion and dedication that went into its making.
What sets Siam Square apart from other similar establishments is its unique hawker slant, where ingredients come in small-plate servings rather than in fixed sets. In fact, its owner, Keith, believes it is the first mookata place in Singapore to introduce such a concept.
With prices starting as low as S$1.80 per plate, the result is an affordable mookata meal that just about anybody can enjoy.
In terms of variety, Siam Square Mookata beats almost everyone. Their innovative ingredients such as Smoked Duck (S$3.20) helps to set them apart. Although its locations might be a bit obscure, the cheap and good quality is well worth a visit.
Cheese Story Mookata Buffet is tucked in a corner of Golden Mile Complex and offers a wide range of buffet selections, including fresh oysters and delicious crayfish.
Their Buffet is priced at S$29.90 per adult from Mondays to Thursdays. On Fridays to Sundays, public holidays and their eves, there is an additional S$3 to each charge.
The prawns and crayfish are big and fresh, as are the oysters that disappear off the station as soon as they are replenished.
The cheese dip is a blend of nacho cheese and mozzarella, resulting in a tasty and stringy mixture. It goes well with everything from meat to seafood. I particularly enjoy the beef slices grilled and dipped in it, with the taste of beef still prominent over the saltiness of the cheese.
5001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Complex, #02-01, Singapore 199588
+65 8678 7876
Daily: 12pm – 2am
4. Ninja Cheese Mookata Buffet
If you’re a fan of the greasy charred meat dunked in cheese combo, here’s another place to satisfy your cravings.
Ninja Cheese Mookata Buffet, located on the first floor of Golden Mile Complex, serves a la carte buffets at S$29.90 per adult from Mondays to Thursdays.
Ninja Cheese Mookata Buffet has always been teeming with patrons whenever I’ve walked past them. That must say something of its appeal.
5001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Complex, #01-50, Singapore 199588
+65 8821 7699
Daily: 3pm – 5am
Another strong player in the mookata game, New Udon Mookata Thai Food, serves up their Platter (S$45) of crabmeat, hotdog, fishball, pork slices, pork liver, chicken, prawns and squid for your enjoyment. With a side of vegetables and refillable soups, New Udon Mookata Thai Food will keep you full and satisfied.
Remember to add the prawn and vegetables to the broth to give it an extra kick of savouriness, as it can be slightly bland on its own. Round off your meal with their Thai Milk Tea (S$4) for a refreshment from the heat and savouriness.
Located just opposite Ninja Cheese Mookata Buffet, you’ll really be hard-pressed to pick one over the other. Guess that warrants double trips to Golden Mile, but with a satisfying pick-me-up over mookata, who can complain?
5001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Complex, #01-55, Singapore 199588
+65 8451 9973
Daily: 24 hours
Ask any mookata lover if they’ve heard about Bangkok Street Mookata, and they’ll probably say yes. Possibly one of the most popular mookata spots, they have branches spanning from West to East.
This coffee shop stall offers your standard meats and seafood, along with sides like tofu, noodles and rice. The soup is also free-flow, and you can help yourself from a station near the stall.
Choose between ordering a la carte, with meat starting at S$1.90 per portion, or get their Platters at S$25 for two or S$45 for four.
Located at Block 498 Jurong West Street 41, this might be one of your new haunts when you’re hankering for a hearty meal with friends over a hot plate in the middle of the night.
7. Y Cube Mookata Buffet
Yet another candidate hailing from Golden Mile (it’s not Little Thailand for no reason), we have Y Cube Mookata Buffet located on the second floor of the complex.
Spanning across several shop spaces, Y Cube Mookata Buffet has an entry fee of S$29 from Mondays to Thursdays. From Fridays to Sundays, public holidays and their eves, each person dines at S$32.
Another popular crowd favourite, Y Cube Mookata Buffet is a no-frills dining experience if you don’t count the fact that you get to eat all you can while you’re there.
If you find yourself in town past midnight with the munchies, why not head over for some grilled indulgence?
5001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Complex, #02-45, Singapore 199588
+65 9159 9152
Daily: 12pm – 6am
8. Phuket Town Mookata
Unique for their 1kg Meat Mountains, Phuket Town Mookata is the place for you if you’ve got a giant appetite. Get the Mega Meat Mountain at S$39.90, or, if you’re not ready for such a monstrosity, you can opt for the Mini Meat Mountain at S$25.
What is a mookata meal without refreshments? Complete the smoky savouriness with a reinvigorating Thai Red Milk Tea and Green Milk Tea at S$2.20 each.
Ever popular, Phuket Town Mookata is usually crowded with tables of happy customers chatting over a languid meal of barbecued meat and steamy soups.
9. 888 Mookata
With three locations across Hougang, Bishan and Tampines, you have a more flexible selection with 888 Mookata.
With three locations across Hougang, Bishan and Tampines, you have a more flexible selection with 888 Mookata.
Their generously sized hot plate fully maximises the BBQ and steamboat combination. Enjoy a set for four at S$45 or set for two at S$26. With a menu that caters to your group size, never feel left out by the selection of meat, vegetables and mushroom.
You’ll be spoilt for choice by the vast variety of meats to choose from, so remember the golden rule of any all-you-can-eat concept: start modestly, ask for seconds later.
10. Moo Moo Thai Mookata
You’ll be forgiven if you think that Moo Moo Thai Mookata is a cow-based mookata due to its name, but ‘Moo’ actually means pork in Thai (like how ‘Mookata’ means pork skillet). Moo Moo Thai Mookata offers a Value Set at S$19.90 that consists of Enoki Mushrooms, Egg, Luncheon Meat and Sliced Beef. You can also upgrade to the Deluxe Set for S$52.90.
Some of the individual toppings include Mushroom Platter (S$4.90), Marinated Pork Collar (S$2.20), Tiger Prawn (S$4.30) and Salmon Slice (S$3.20). Meat eaters can opt for the Moo Moo Meat Hunter Platter (S$38.90). Each customer also gets a complimentary ice cream after their meal!
11. Aroy Mak Mookata
Aroy Mak Mookata is an authentic traditional Thai BBQ and steamboat located along MacPherson Road and offers Mookata Buffet at S$19.80 with no time limit. Fill your plates with Thai Herb Pork Sausage, Black Pepper Marinated Chicken and Marinated Pork Cheek. There are refillable soup bases such as Pork Bone Soup and Tom Yum Soup.
Upgrading it to Premium Buffet (S$29.80) will get you more options such as Snow Flake Marinated Beef, Crayfish aka Slipper Lobster, Wagyu Beef and Flower Crab. Refresh your palate with their own home brew drinks such as Thai Milk Tea, Thai Lemon Grass and Thai Green Milk Tea.
12. Thai Hao Chi Mookata
Consecutive winners of the Singapore Food Masters from 2018 to 2020, it’s no wonder that Thai Hao Chi Mookata is regarded as one of the best mookata spots in Singapore. Another claim to fame is its use of a charcoal grill and MSG-free soup base, making this one of the more authentic mookata experience you can have.
It only features one set, the Yum Mak Mak Set (S$39.90) which consists of Marinated Pork, Marinated Chicken, Pork Belly, Pork Liver, Prawns, Squid, Crabstick, Meatballs, Fish balls and Hot dogs. There are also greens such as Chinese Cabbage and Spinach. If that isn’t enough, you can add more sides such as Taiwan Sausage (S$6) and Bak Kwa (S$10).
13. Kin Tub Thai Mookata BBQ Steamboat
Kin Tub Thai Mookata BBQ Steamboat also uses a charcoal-grill cooking method, and offers a scenic view of the Singapore River. The Standard Platter for two costs S$44.90 consists of Prawn, Crab Sticks, Pork Slices, Cuttlefish and Enoki Mushrooms.
If your mookata cooking skills are questionable, you can opt for the freshly prepared dishes such as the Grilled Spicy Garlic King Prawns with Thai Sauce (S$29.90), Salt and Pepper Grilled Squid with Thai Sauce (S$14.90) and BBQ Crab (S$35/S$27). There are also cooked side dishes such as Chicken Nuggets (S$6.90), Fried Chicken Wings (S$6.90) and BBQ Chicken/Pork Skewers (S$8.90 for 10 sticks).
14. CHICE – The Original Chickata
It’s difficult to find halal mookata, (mostly due to its nature of cooking), which is why Chice – The Original Chickata got creative with its name. The standard order is S$25.90 which consists of 7 Chickata items and 1 Ice Blender. Some of the items include Instant Noodles, Shiitake Mushrooms, Chicken (Black Pepper), Smoke Duck Slice and Tiger Prawns.
A unique item for CHICE – The Original Chickata are the blenders that are on offer to fully satisfy your thirst. These are ice blended drinks where you get to choose their individual sugar level. The blender flavours include Thai Coffee Blender, Thai Milk Tea Blender, Thai Mango Blender and Thai Coconut Blender.
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