The Moo Kata – a cheap and cheerful Thai feast.
Whether you live here or just visiting, I do hope you won’t miss a chance to try Moo Kata style of Thai eating, which literally means “pork-pan”.
Moo Kata places elude the attention of quite a lot of travellers, majorly because they do not advertise themselves in English.
But if you see something like this driving around the moat of The Old City in Chiang Mai
do stop and have a look. There are several eating places of this type in town.
They start working at about 6pm and stay open until 11pm, sometimes midnight. There are huge screens with Thai TV, sometimes showing football games. There are karaoke or live music performances. There are always plenty of parking spaces and a playground for the kids.
Moo Kata as a rule is a family event. And you know how fanatic Thais are about their food.
You come with a big group of relatives or friends, sit down the long tables on hard wooden benches and just spend your night laughing, talking away and slowly eating for 4 to 5 hours. Nobody rushes you, in fact the longer you are there the better it is for the establishment. They make their profits on the drinks, you see.
But what is Moo Kata? It’s a sort of barbeque buffet.
You pay 140 baht for your food, the waiters bring you a choice of charcoal or electric heaters with a pan that looks like a sombrero hat on top of them.
You barbeque on the top and create a sort of soup on the bottom which quickly turns into a delicious broth.
But first of all, you take your trays and head to the buffet tables.
The tables are separated into sections. Grab your plates and head to the meat section first – there’s plenty of pork, beef, bacon, liver, chicken, squid.. Turn around, and there are lots of greenery for your soup – lettuce, cabbage, spring onions, morning glory, Chinese broccoli, you name it..
There are king prawns and cockles, first ones to cook on the big grills outside, second just to leave for few minutes in a pan with hot water.
There are plenty of vegetables for your salad, or a choice of salads that is already precooked – som tum, laab moo, glass noodle seafood salad, etc. There is rice and noodles, and even French fries! Sausages, fried chicken legs, kebabs, freshly fried morning glory (yum) with plenty of chilli and garlic..
A selection of hot and sweet sauces and pickles. The food just doesn’t stop.
You drink you cold beer or Coke or even iced water, and slowly drift from the heavy main meals to fresh fruit and Thai desserts..
Beware, there is a fine usually for not finishing everything on your plates! I believe, it’s 30 baht on top of the bill..
I have to say, Moo Kata is for mature stomachs. The rest of us mere mortals will have to crawl back to our homes thinking “how could I pig out so much?!” and hope to digest the enormous amount of food by morning.
Happy eating, guys and gals!