Sometimes I’m not a fan of the Instagram and Facebook algorithms. I get weird recommendations, like for a club I’d never go to or nude-colored heels because I searched for them once for a wedding. But every once in a while, the algorithm strikes gold.
That’s how I learned about Mookata.
But let’s backtrack a bit - what is Chinese Hot Pot? It’s not something I had never experienced, but I saw a bunch of Hot Pot restaurants throughout the States when I visited recently.
There is a pot of broth warmed on the table, and then various ingredients are added to it: fish cakes, pork belly, noodles, napa cabbage, marinated beef, fried tofu…it’s unlimited options and bottomless servings (well, at least at Mookata it is, for 2 1/2 hours).
I, however, had overlooked the Hot Pot aspect of it and was excited enough just for Korean BBQ.
Mookata is long, spacious restaurant right on the Hofplein roundabout. The Ramen Marauder and I sat at a four-top table, and considering how much food we ordered, I’m glad we did!
I’d say “Asian Fondue BBQ and Grill” is a pretty good way to describe the dining experience. First, you pick your broth, toppings, and side dishes. I initially thought we only ordered once, but you can keep ordering toppings and side dishes as you eat. (The cost of the food is just the per person price, which varies depending on the day.)
They will then turn on your burner and warm up the broth. When your first round of toppings arrives, you’ll add a cube of lard onto the grill, and once it’s oiled, you can begin!
Our soup base was chicken broth and our sauces were teriyaki, crispy chili oil, and sweet chili sauce. Of all the “Fondue and BBQ” options available, we tried Thai fish cakes, pork belly, Korean BBQ chicken, beef sweet BBQ sauce, usuyaki (a thinly sliced beef), bamboo shoots, baby corn, don don noodles, udon, and Chinese cabbage. We also ordered the Vietnamese loempia, curry triangles, spicy soya cucumbers, and spicy potatoes (they did not have the sichuan beans when we went).
When the food comes out, it’s all in tiny bowls (which I love). It doesn’t seem like much, but the grill and the broth fill up fast with all your items. And while it starts as a slow process, you eventually won’t be able to keep up with how much you need to cook versus how much you’re eating.
But that’s part of the fun: trying all the different options and cooking with friends. We ordered three rounds of food before we were comfortably stuffed.
Considering we cooked the food ourselves, I was happy with how it was prepared. At first, I wasn’t sure we’d be able to relax and converse during dinner because we had to cook the food.
I realized, however, that I was overthinking it. You just put the “fondue” items in the broth, and then tend to your grilling meats while you talk. Once everything is cooked to your liking, you compose the perfect bowl of bites.
We cooked and ate and talked and ate and cooked and ate and talked some more, and before we realized it, nearly 2 1/2 hours had passed.
Mookata is a great spot for people who want Asian food, but aren’t sure everyone in the group will want Asian food. Plus, for those who aren’t good at splitting bills, the math here is simple: the per person cost (26,50-28,50€ depending on the day) plus your beverages. And keep in mind: this is an all-you-can-eat price for 2 1/2 hours.
Mookata Asian Fondue BBQ and Grill, Pompenburg 652, 3011 AX Rotterdam, Nederlands, +31 (0)10 210 80 26