Last Updated: July 18, 2019
‘Mookata’ loosely translates from Thai meaning ‘pork’ and ‘skillet’. It’s originated from Northern Thailand, though one may argue how the interesting ‘domed shape hotpot’ came about. I liked the origin story about how the soldiers in Chiang Mai grilled meat using their helmets, eventually creating a metal domed shaped hotpot we see today.
To eat Mookata, first, one has to lather the pork lard provided (Yes, not butter or oil but pork lard) to grease the metal skillet, which you then use to grill the meats. The surface eventually gets really charred though. Simple soup is also poured into the moat surrounding the skillet. Traditional Mookata in Thailand just use 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 juice that flow down, mixing together with the boiled vegetables in the broth to create a flavourful and rich taste in the 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.
Like what many Singaporeans can relate to: We connect over food. Lastly, you can enjoy a mookata without the stress of having to dress up! Not advisable to wear your favourite dress or blazer as you’ll most probably be smelling like grilled pork after a mookata session. Not for the atas folks who dislike the BBQ smell clinging to their hair.
Here are 9 Best Thai Mookata Restaurants in Singapore.
Ubiquitously named after the food it serves, Mookata Traditional Thai BBQ has been around for quite a few years, and definitely stays up to date with its exciting flavours that cater to the evolving tastes.
Probably one of my favourites for Thai mookata in Singapore.
Mookata set meal for 2 ($34.90++), Buffet is available from Mon -Thurs ($34.90++)
The meat selections are exquisite, especially the Pork Collar. They also have Pork Sukiyaki in their set platters which are must-try, as well as wagyu beef.
Their special marination sauce is slathered on generously to ensure the grilled meat is packed with flavour and there is tom yum marinated chicken/pork is available for the spice lovers.
The mookata hotpot here uses charcoal for a more rustic experience while the pot skillet is big enough to not worry about your meat sliding into the soup.
Always putting customers first, they even have three different levels of spiciness for their chilli sauce to cater to different spice tolerances. I’ve to highlight their homemade Thai milk tea as one of the best I’ve tried. Mookata, Traditional Thai BBQ does not take in reservations but they do provide a queue system during peak hours!
Mookata, Traditional Thai BBQ: 103 East Coast Road, Singapore 428797 | Tel: 6344 2985 | Opening Hours: 5pm to 12am (Mon – Thurs), 5pm to 1am (Fri), 12pm – 1am (Sat), 12pm – 12am (Sun) | Website
Located in the west, 1_345 Secrets of Thai Taste mookata can be found in a large food court at The Elitist building near many other industrial offices. By night, most of the other stalls stop operating while conversely, 1_345 mookata only starts up in the evening and can utilise many of the tables available.
Mookata Thai BBQ steam set $32.80 for 2 – 3 pax
The secret is in their Chiang Mai-style mookata non-MSG soup stock, made authentically by the owner’s Thai wife. Variety of selection is not as much, but the meats are marinated simply and proved to be quite tasty.
The table area is huge and spacious, unlike the usual cramped mookata restaurants. There is ample free parking at The Elitist and although a bit far off, quite convenient to drive to if you have a car.
1_345 Secrets of Thai Taste: 25 Bukit Batok Crescent, The Elitist, Singapore 658066 | Tel: 9680 1100 | Opening Hours: 4.30pm – 11pm (Tues – Sun), Closed on Mondays | Facebook
Tom Yum Kungfu has an eclectic, retro-pop vibe 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).
BBQ Steamboat Set for 2 ($39.90)
Their clear broth is boiled from vegetables, pork bones and crabs; a rather light broth but with satisfying umami and seafood sweetness. They use charcoal as their fuel as well. 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.
They have a rather interesting a la carte menu with more differentiating items, such as venison meat, and homemade fish paste. Not only mookata, Tom Yum Kung Fu serves decent Thai dishes as well. Tom Yum Kung Fu is another of my top picks for Mookata restaurants in Singapore.
*mookata is not available on weekday afternoons
Located in Geylang, Ladyboy Mookata is always swarmed with snaking lines who’d wait an hour or two just to try the cheese mookata. Tip? Always book in advance. Maybe even a few days in advance.
Ladyboy Mookata only serves quality ingredients whether it’s meat or seafood and they give generous portions too. Some must-tries are the pork belly, pork collar and lamb.
The lamb is so succulent and when placed onto the grill, you’ll hear the glorious rhythm of the glistening fat melting away. Grill it till its slightly charred and you’ll have a tender slab of lamb oozing with juicy fats.
When dipped in Ladyboy Mookata’s Ladyboy cheese, you won’t say a word for the rest of your meal, you’ll just chew your heart out in peace.
Read our full review on Ladyboy Mookata.
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 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, Keith believes it is the first Mookata place in Singapore to introduce such a concept.
With prices starting as low as $1.80 per plate, the result is an affordable Mookata meal that just about anybody can enjoy.
In terms of variety, Siam Square Mookata has most everyone else beat. Although its locations might be a bit dodgy, the cheap and good quality is well-worth a visit.
Moo Ka Ta Set for 2 people ($39.90+), Combo for 4 ($59.90+), Buffet (mon-thurs: $25.90+; fri-sun: $28.90+)
Located in Upper Thomson, Huay Kwang Thai Kitchen is a great place for both dinner and supper. The soup base is great, a light broth of pork bones and cabbage which tasted rich and flavourful after a few rounds of grilling – but yet not too overwhelming.
The meat wasn’t of the highest quality but definitely decent for the meat devourers. I exceptionally like their chilli sauce, with a tantalising garlic aroma. To cater to the young crowd, Huay Kwang Thai also has a student buffet promotion at their Thomson outlet at $22.90+ per pax with a minimum of 4 diners, to be seated from 4.30pm – 5.30pm and lasts 100 minutes.
Huay Kwang Thai Kitchen: 244R Upper Thomson Road, Singapore 574369 | Tel: 8588 9990 | Opening Hours: 5.30pm to 2am (daily) | Facebook
There are quite a few mookata restaurants at Golden Mile Tower and I found Happy Mookata to be the best. Happy Mookata only serves a standard, no-frills mookata buffet non-inclusive of drinks.
A la carte Buffet ($23.90)
By far, the most affordable mookata buffet I’ve been to. They use a gas stove, and their hotpot is slightly different in a way that the very small metal skillet hotpot doesn’t have grills holes in it, so all the meat grease will roll straight into the shallow moat of soup broth. Although they just use standard chicken stock broth, the soup gets rich very fast because of the tight girth.
Scooping soup out was a pain though. The chicken meat and beef slices are quite tasty when grilled. Not a huge selection, but also has fried items on the buffet. A caveat: avoid the fried sotong balls (worst sotong ball I’ve eaten in my life).
Happy Mookata: Golden Mile Tower, 6001 Beach Road #01-55D, Singapore 199589 | Tel: 9380 9028 | Opening Hours: 5pm to 3am (Mon – Fri), 2pm to 3am (Sat & Sun) | Website
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.
The prawns and crayfish were big and fresh, as were the oysters that disappeared off the station as soon as they were replenished.
The cheese dip is a blend of nacho cheese and mozzarella, resulting in a tasty and stringy mixture. It went well with everything, from the meats to the seafood. I particularly enjoyed the beef slices grilled and dipped in it, with the taste of the beef still prominent over the saltiness of the cheese.
Read the full review on Cheese Story Mookata.
Cheese Story Mookata Buffet: 5001 Beach Road, Golden Mile Complex #02-01, Singapore 199588 | Opening Hours: Open 24 Hours (daily) | Tel: 8678 7876 | Facebook
Charcoal Thai offers the Charcoal Thai BBQ and Steamboat ($39.90 per set, recommended for 2 pax) with the choice of vegetable broth or tom yum soup base.
The meat platter contains marinated pork and chicken slices. Shelled prawns, luncheon meat, sausages, crab meat and meatballs. The meat was well marinated, and tasted juicy and tender when grilled. The portion is quite generous I must say.
Raw egg is also provided to dip the meat in before grilling it, but be careful not to leave it for too long for the egg will char the meat easily. Other than the large quantities of meat, I must say that the variety and rest of the ingredients a little lacking – luncheon meat, sausages and crab meat did nothing to wow me.
Read the full review on Charcoal Thai.
During my quest in creating this best mookata in Singapore guide and gaining countless of sinful calories, the determining factor is not just the quality of food, but also the service and ambience of the restaurant itself, as well as how stinky we get after a meal.
Any other good Thai mookata restaurants in Singapore to recommend? Leave a comment below and let me know.