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BarBQ Plaza’s Unlimited Refill Is A Meat-Lover’s Dream

Mookata, commonly called Thai-style barbecue, comes from the words mu (pig/pork) and kratha (pan/skillet). Believed to have been inspired by Mongolian and Korean barbecues, the concept was first popularised in Thailand – and has since spread across Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, you will find many mookata joints, usually non-halal, that serve pork, seafood and meat, to be sizzled on a dome-shaped pan oiled with lard. All the juices from the grill then drips down into a shallow, surrounding ‘ring’ around the edges of the pan which contains soup – essentially flavouring it with whatever you’ve cooked and giving you an umami bomb unlike any other. Also, hotpot + grill in one? Genius idea.

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While mookata joints are now a dime a dozen in Kuala Lumpur, one of the pioneers to enter the Malaysian market was BarBQ Plaza. They have not waned in popularity ever since, and currently have 18 outlets across Peninsular Malaysia, including one in IOI Mall Puchong. H and I came here for a late lunch after work, and since we were both famished after skipping breakfast, we decided to go for their All You Can Eat Refill promo, which is only available on weekdays.

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There are two tiers: the Super Refill (RM46.90 for members, RM49.90 for non-members) lets you order everything on the menu, while the Happy Refill (RM35.90 for members, RM39.90 for non-members) gets you items on the bottom only. Personally, if you’re on a budget, I think the Happy Refill is good enough, but if you like a bit more variety, then the Super Refill is worth the extra 10 bucks. Both sets come with a ‘starter’ of either pork or beef; and then you can add on whatever you want, no limits. Drinks and desserts are also included, although you’re basically just limited to honey lemon, green tea, coke and ice-cream.

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H and I were on a mission: to satisfy our pork cravings. So we started off with the pork set, which came with a side of udon and some vegetables.

The thing about BarBQ Plaza is that the meat is always sliced really thinly (so that it grills easier), but that also means that you rarely feel satisfied, and it always leaves you wanting more. With unlimited refill, you get 90 minutes to pack as much protein as you can.

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The restaurant gave us generous amounts of lard to oil the surface and ensure the meat doesn’t stick.

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I know it’s super unhealthy (which is why you should eat this once in a blue moon, or for celebrations!), but I highly recommend getting the Mozzarella Bacon. The cheese sticks to the pan, so I suggest grilling one side of the bacon first before putting the topping on the other side, so you get nice, crispy edges and a gooey centre. Speaking of which, I like my bacon to be chewy rather than crispy, which the Hubs deems blasphemous. How do you like your bacon?

(Also pictured) Cheese tofu, smoked duck, regular bacon, pork slices.

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To break the monotony of meat, we also ordered squid and a couple of seafood items like clam, prawn and fish. They were out of everything though, except for the squid.

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Round 2: More Mozzarella bacon, more smoked duck, and Thai-style pork. There’s barely any sauce though so we couldn’t really taste the ‘marinade’.

BarBQ Plaza’s in-house special sauce is really something. I’m not even sure what they make it from, but it’s like crack lol. Especially when you add in garlic. It’s sweet and savoury, and helps to cut through the greasiness so you can eat more.

Now, I know that buffets sell you the illusion that you can get your money’s worth, since you’re basically limited to how much you can eat – but most people can’t eat that much, and buffets have done that calculation. How else are they going to turn a profit?

This time, though, I think it’s score one for Eris and H. Our bill came up to RM55 per pax, and I felt like we ate our money’s worth lol. It’s a shame about the seafood items. They also didn’t have dessert. Pro tip: come at 11AM; that way you can avoid the lunch crowd and they wouldn’t run out of items.

That being said, there are a couple of things that the IOI Mall outlet can improve on. They were understaffed, with only 2 servers on the floor, so it took some time for them to serve our tables whenever we requested for refills. Also, instead of telling us that some of the items had run out, the first server simply brought whatever they had out – so we kept thinking they had forgotten the items and kept ordering them on our next chit.

BARBQ PLAZA (IOI MALL PUCHONG)

Lot FS09- FS11, 1st Floor, IOI MALL, Jalan Puchong, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Business hours: 11AM – 10PM (daily)

Travelogue: One Night In Singapore

Where would you go if you only had a couple of hours in Singapore? 

Some might make a beeline for Clark Quay and its vibrant bar and club scene, or maybe Orchard Road & Bugis for a spot of late night shopping – but being the nerd that I am, I wanted to go see the Super Trees @ Gardens by the Bay. LOL.

9.00PM

C and I set out from our hotel at Shangri-La, where we took a Grab to the nearest MRT (Somerset – red) and traveled to Dhoby Ghaut. There, we changed to the yellow line heading to Promenade. Gardens by the Bay is literally at the station’s doorstep.

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Spanning over 100 hectares, Gardens by the Bay is one of Singapore’s most visited attractions, with beautifully landscaped gardens, conservatories and groves – a literal green oasis in the middle of the city. Walking through the nicely manicured lawns and neat pavements, one can’t help but marvel at the ingenuity behind its design and architecture, as well as the massive effort it must take to upkeep the place.

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The highlight of the Gardens is the Supertree Grove – towering structures of light and steel made to resemble – you guessed it – trees. I think they’ve become even more iconic since the Crazy Rich Asian film: think Singapore, think Supertree Grove.

Theyre’ not only there to look pretty: the trees are essentially ‘vertical’ gardens, with complex technologies such as photovoltaic cells that help it to harness solar energy for the plants, a rainwater collection system for irrigation, as well as air intake and exhaust functions for the conversatories’ cooling systems.

There are light and sound shows twice daily at 7.45 and 8.45PM. Too bad we missed it by the time we arrived. There’s also a restaurant up in one of the trees, and a pedestrian bridge ( you need to pay for that though) if you want to get upclose to the structures.

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A great spot for photos is this illuminated bridge that connects different parts of the vast park, as you’ll be able to see some of the super trees as well as the Singapore Flyer in the distance.

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Also close to the Promenade side of the Gardens is the iconic Marina Bay Sands building,  designed to resemble a ship at the top. There is a convenient pedestrian bridge linking the two, so we made a quick detour to see the sights before returning to the MRT station.

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Tree-lined pedestrian avenue.

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The grand interior of one of the buildings.

10.30 PM

From Promenade, we rode the MRT one stop to Nicoll Highway – C’s usual haunt for food back when she was still working in Singapore. We hadn’t had dinner and our stomachs were rumbling by the time we got to the Golden Mile Complex, which C described as ‘shady but they have good food’ lol. Anything for good food!

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Built in 1973, Golden Mile is an old but clean (is there anywhere dirty in Singapore even?) shopping complex that reminded me strongly of KL’s Ampang Park. Like how Lucky Plaza is a hub for the Filipino community in Singapore, Golden Mile plays host to many Thai businesses, including numerous mookata (grill and steamboat) buffet joints, karaoke spots, mobile phone shops, bars, clubs and the like.

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We popped into a random one that was packed despite the late hour and got a set for two, which was chicken and seafood. Did not realise that it came with liver or would have skipped this, but the rest of the items were good, especially the chicken meat which had been marinated in a flavourful garlicky concoction. Shrimps were large and meaty, but I do wish they had given us a bit more squid.

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For those of you who have never tried mookata, all I can say is that you’re really missing out! It’s extremely popular in Thailand, where it is known as mu kratha, and features a uniquely designed pot with deep edges for boiling, and an elevated centre for grilling. They give you a few slabs of lard to ‘oil’ the grill with, so the meat comes out tasting extra fragrant.

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Of course, no meal would be complete without the quintessential Thai milk tea. The version served here was humongous; almost as tall as my head.

Our meal came up to SGD  25 per pax (screaming at self not to convert it into ringgit) which was reasonable given the portions.

1.30 AM
The last train back to Somerset ran until 12.30AM, and it took us another hour to book a Grab because there were problems with C’s SIM – but all in all, a good couple of hours spent taking in a slice of Singapore. Hope this helps if you’re ever in town for a super short stay. 🙂

 

Review: BBQ Plaza, IOI Mall Puchong

Love barbecue and hotpot? You can have the best of both at BBQ Plaza, a popular mookata chain with various outlets across Malaysia.

Originally from Thailand, mookata (or mu kratha – literally pan/skillet pork) combines a Korean-style raised barbecue plate with a Chinese-style hotpot on the edges. BBQ Plaza is one of the pioneers of this style of cooking in Malaysia, although now it’s quite easy to find mookata everywhere.

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The bro wanted to treat us, so we went to the branch in IOI Mall Puchong. The place is always packed for dinner, so be sure to go early!

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Spacious interior with exhaust fans over each booth for ventilation.

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Service was fast and efficient. While we were lining up they were already taking our orders to speed up the process. Difference between this and the recent unpleasant experience at Yuan Le is like heaven and earth.

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Supreme Pork (Family Set) came with thinly sliced pork, bacon, chicken, shrimp, assorted hotpot goodies like meatballs, crab meat sticks and tofu, butterfish slices, shrimp, squid, fish paste noodles, udon and vegetables.

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We also added on a Bacon with Mozzarella (no pic coz too busy eating lol) which was DA BOMB – although the cheese had a tendency to get stuck on the grill. I suggest scraping the cheese off first, grilling one side of the bacon then topping the other with the cheese.

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Everything was fresh and tasty! Loved how thinly they sliced the pork, and there was a nice balance of lean and fat to accommodate different tastes. The portions are enough for a family of 3 – 4 if you add rice.

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Part of the fun of BBQ is the cooking process – watching the meat sizzle, inhaling the aroma, before finally rewarding yourself with a slightly charred, smokey piece of meat.

Our meal came to a total of RM102, plus drinks and 6 bowls of rice between the four of us. Pretty reasonable for such a setting.

  • Food: 4/5
  • Ambience: 4/5
  • Staff: 4/5
  • Price: Rm100+ for family of four

BBQ PLAZA (IOI MALL PUCHONG BRANCH) 

Lot FS-09 – 11, IOI Mall Puchong, 47100 Puchong, Selangor

Opening hours: 11.30AM – 10PM (daily)

Food Review: Chiang Mai Mookata & Thai Street Food@ Skypod Square Puchong

UPDATE: This outlet is permanently closed.

Moo-kata, or Thai style barbecue, is all the rage these days: judging by the increasing number of outlets popping up in and around the Klang Valley. What I like about it is that you can barbecue AND boil your food on the unique stove at the same time! My first experience with it was in Phuket in 2015. I. Was. Hooked. Even today, I can still recall the taste and experience (read on my Phuket Mookata experience: here)

Local foodshow HoChak recently featured this place in Puchong called Chiang Mai Mookata & Thai Street Food, so the fam and I went to try it last weekend. We expected it to be crowded since that’s usually how it is after a foodshow introduces a resto, but it was relatively quiet during our visit. SkyPod/IOI Business Park itself is usually deserted anyway lel. 

Moo and Pops decided to skip on the Mookata (??? why?) and opted to have single portions of green curry chicken and braised pork with rice. The bro and I shared a set, which is good for two.

Sorry I don’t have better pictures – we sat outdoors (which was dark) because the ventilation inside wasn’t so good. The platter consisted of thin slices of marinated pork and chicken, sizable shrimps, pork balls and fake crab meat sticks and bacon, as well as veggies, vermicelli and an egg. The meat tasted decent after grilling, albeit a little salty/peppery. Thick chunks of lard (the white stuff on the plate) are used to oil the grill.

I’d recommend adding on the bacon wrapped enoki mushroom 🙂

Washed everything down with a glass of Thai milk tea.

The food was decent but it took forever to cook because the burner was really small and it was windy outside. But then again, meals like these are best enjoyed at a slow pace.

Damage for two rice meals + the mookata set + drinks = RM100.

CHIANG MAI MOOKATA PUCHONG

G-13, Skypod Square, Persiaran Puchong Jaya Selatan, Bandar Puchong Jaya, 47100 Puchong, Selangor.

Opening hours: 11AM – 11PM (Daily)

Phone: +60386014505

facebook.com/pg/chiangmaimookataa

BibiWok Thai Steamboat/Grill, Bandar Puteri Puchong

UPDATE: This place is now closed D: *cries* 

I can’t believe I’ve lived in Puchong my whole life and never got down to eating at BibiWok Thai Steamboat/Grill in Bandar Puteri, Puchong. My mum ate at their resto downstairs (which serves Thai cuisine) and didn’t like the food, so I always had the impression that their stuff wasn’t up to par. Goes to show that you shouldn’t believe everything you hear…

The ex-colleagues and I had dinner here recently and boy, was I blown away. This is easily the best, most value for money hotpot/grill place you can get around Puchong.

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Thai steamboat/grill is called Mookata. Ever since H brought me to try one while we were holidaying in Phuket, I’ve been hooked – but it’s not very common in Malaysia. I love the concept, since you can choose to boil or grill your food, or both !

BibiWok’s restaurant is divided into two sections. Downstairs, they serve typical Thai dishes like Basil Chicken, Tom Yum Goong, and Pad Thai. The mookata is upstairs, and you enter through a rather dingy-looking staircase at the side. They should put more signs, coz if I was a first-time customer, I wouldn’t know there was such a gem of a place on the second floor.

7pm on a Friday night, and we had the whole place to ourselves. Guests can choose to sit at the regular table, or in these niches with a space for you to put your legs.

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The menu features a wide selection of veggies, meat and seafood. You write down the order on a piece of paper, and they’ll bring it out on a plate lined with banana leaves. For our first ’round’, we ordered scallops, fish slices, lamb, smoked duck slices, squid, chicken, shrimp, seafood tofu, fishballs, beef balls, and fried beancurd. What can I say – everything was fresh and tasty.

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The grill was also lined with banana leaves, so it really gave this smokey, fragrant flavour to the items.

My favourite was the smoked duck, which was cut not too thick or thin. After grilling, the fat just melted in the mouth along with the tender, salted meat. The lamb was another winner – juicy, well-marinated; as was the bouncy squid and succulent chicken meat. I think what made everything so good was the fact that the stuff was fresh.

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Our tomyum soup base became really salty after adding a lot of ingredients. 😛

We actually ordered TWO more plates similar to the one I took a picture of above. The waiters were looking at us like O-O “what is wrong with these three women?”. At the end of the meal, we finished off with fruits and chocolate/vanilla ice-cream. The buffet is also inclusive of drinks such as green tea, water and cincau.

What we liked about it, apart from the food, is that they serve everything right up to your table.

The buffet is priced at RM38++ per pax. For the variety and freshness, this is a steal.

Restoran BibiWok

1, Jalan Puteri 10/16, Bandar Puteri,

47100 Puchong, Selangor, Malaysia

Phone: 03 8068 6284

Business hours: 5.30pm – 11.00pm

Thai Barbecue @ BBQ Plaza, The Mines

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I like barbecues.

I like how immersive the experience is, especially if you get to choose what pieces you want, grill them on a hotplate and serve them freshly cooked and piping hot. I like how the wait for the meat to cook doubles up your satisfaction when it’s finally done and you can sink your teeth into its tender juiciness. Who cares if you get that smoky aroma of food in your clothes? 🙂

The last time I was in Thailand, H brought me to a Mookata – which is a traditional Thai barbecue with a hotplate and a shallow hotpot. You can read on the experience here.

After coming back to Malaysia, the next best thing is BBQ Plaza, a Thai Mookata chain. They have restaurants in many major shopping malls, and although they are not 100% authentic (you don’t eat outdoors, for one!), it will have to do.

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We went to the outlet in The Mines, SeriKembangan. The interior is cosy enough, although quite cramped.

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We got the Supreme Family Set, which was just enough for the three of us. Other than refillable veggies, there was also shrimp, squid, fish slices, fish noodles and udon, chickenw and bacon slices.

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The bottom tray had slices of pork, beef and lamb. Liked the pork, but the lamb had a gamey smell.

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The most maddening part about eating BBQ is waiting for the food to cook and salivating while the pieces of meat are right in front of you! Oil the pan with two pieces of pork lard so that there’s enough grease for cooking.

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For sides, we had the Marinated Pork Belly on Skewers. These were deep fried, crunchy and flavourful, though a bit on the oily side.

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The gyoza was my favourite. Stuffed with minced pork and wrapped in crispy wanton wrappers before being deep fried to a golden brown, it was served piping hot with the meat succulent and juicy.

Overall, it was a good meal and we got to redeem the Family Set for free thanks to H’s member card points. The rest of the items cost about Rm47++, which is reasonable considering the amount. It’s as close as an authentic Thai Mookata experience in Malaysia, but of course it will never compare to the one we had in Phuket. 🙂

BBQ PLAZA (Mines branch) 

L3-30, Level 3, The Mines,

Jalan Dulang, Seri Kembangan.

Opening hours: 10am – 10pm (daily)