asian fusion

Mookata (Rotterdam, Netherlands): Korean BBQ and Chinese Hot Pot in One Delicious Spot

THE STORY

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.

Mookata Restaurant Rotterdam Nederlands Korean BBQ Chinese Hot Pot asian food asian craving flat lay

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 Restuarant Rotterdam Nederlands Korean BBQ Chinese Hot Pot side dishes asian craving

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!

Mookata Restaurant Rotterdam Nederlands Korean BBQ Chinese Hot Pot noodle bowl pork belly fish cakes marinated beef asian craving

THE REVIEW

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.

Mookata Restaurant Rotterdam Nederlands Korean BBQ Chinese Hot Pot asian craving chili noodle pull

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

Noo.Me (Rotterdam, Netherlands): Your Go-To Asian Restaurant For All Noodle Soups

THE STORY

As I've mentioned before, The Ramen Marauder and I have relocated to Rotterdam. When we tell family and friends, it's not unusual that A) someone assumes I meant Amsterdam; or B) someone asks "How far is that from Amsterdam?" Even when I've booked Airbnbs or flights, the emails I received titled "What to do in Rotterdam" are filled with things to do in Amsterdam.

And by all means, keep visiting Amsterdam.

Someone said to me that, when they visited Rotterdam, they got out of the train station and felt like they were staring at a concrete wall. It seems to me they forgot to turn around.

Kralingse Plas Rotterdam Netherlands Sailing Boats Park Spring

As I get to know Rotterdam, I feel like this city has been preparing for my arrival all my life. There are Asian restaurants, bars, cute cats, green spaces, markets, board game shops, and still more to discover. Everywhere I turn I see diversity, and nearly everyone I speak with is happy to talk to someone new. (Or they're politely tolerating me.)

Daniel at Noo.Me explained to me that the Dutch in Rotterdam are eager to learn more about Asian culture and cuisine. His crowd-funded restaurant offers dishes from multiple southeast Asian countries, but what makes his place truly unique is that he does the dishes justice. When Asian restaurants offer dishes from multiple countries, they almost seem to lose credibility by combining all these cuisines under one umbrella.

Noo.Me Rotterdam Netherlands Holland Laksa Pho Bao Dumplings Asian Food Malaysian Vietnamese

Not Noo.Me. Daniel clearly cares about what he offers on the menu because he wants customers to have a positive, authentic experience, and ultimately hopes they will want to learn more about Asian cuisine. He also approaches it all with good humor - if you check out their menu, you'll understand.

This may be just the honeymoon phase of our new move, but I have a feeling I will continue loving this city.

Noo.Me Rotterdam Netherlands Menu Noodle Soup Malaysian Laksa Seafood Asian Food

THE REVIEW

The Ramen Marauder ordered Vietnamese pho, I had the Malaysian laksa, and we shared an order of Chinese fried dumplings and a cha siu bao. I almost wish I had ordered a larger size because it seemed like all the goodness couldn't fit in a small! Or maybe I just wanted a little more broth, which was a bit spicier than I expected (but pleasant). The pho, which we both enjoyed when we ordered to go another time, was also delicious. Afterwards we both enjoyed a Vietnamese coffee, which came with a mini stroopwafel.

This is a great place to try a variety of good food from different Asian cultures - bring your friends!


Noo.Me, Botersloot 18A, 3011 HG Rotterdam, Netherlands, +31 10 737 1865

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