Taste of Thai Mookata at Tom Yum Kungfu

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Sawadeeka…this post will be my review of Tom Yum Kungfu – a place where some say is the BEST place for Thai Mookata in Singapore. What’s Mookata, you ask? It’s the Thai version of a charcoal grill meet a steamboat with a distinctive Thai soup base.

My friend and I went to the branch at Circular Road (Boat Quay) as it was near to our offices and upon walking near the restaurant, you smell the strong waft of grilled meats and walking into either sides of the restaurant will cause you to be engulfed in a haze of barbequed meat and seafood. The restaurant itself is air-conditioned but there are several tables outside. If you want to smell less than food, I recommend trying to get a table outside.

We were seated right inside and I was very intrigued by the fact that there were no open grills or exhaust pipes above each table. All the tables were made of solid concrete and one side of the restaurant’s tables were further ‘decorated’ with mosaic. A metal plate that seemed to come from the 1970s is placed in the middle of each table and that’s the only indication of where your steamboat/hotpot/grill will be placed.

Onto the food…we ordered the set J33 (not shown in the photo below) which costs S$44.90+ and is meant for 3-4 pax. The platter consists of lots of marinated pork, pork belly slices, 6 scallops, 5 grey prawns and some pieces of fish cake. The vegetable bowl contains cabbage, Chinese spinach, glass noodles, enoki mushroom and fried beancurd skin.

It is similar to the J31 set except that it has more meat and seafood. We decided not to get the one with Tiger Prawns and instant noodles because neither of us wanted to eat carbs and we didn’t see much value because you can easily add on the Tiger Prawns for S$12+. If you don’t want to eat the Mookata, they do have 4-5 pages of ala carte Thai foods such as Tom Yum Goong for you to choose from. Great thing about this place is that GST is included in the listed price.

Tom Yum Kungfu takes orders in a very high-tech manner – via iPads. However, the mookata itself is a more traditional charcoal pot that is brought to your table by a wait staff wielding something that I can only describe as a 2-prong pitch fork.

On the platter are pieces of lard for you to oil the grill part of the mookata, located in the middle. This is to prevent your seafood and meats from burning and sticking onto the metal. The drippings will eventually drip into the soup to make it even more flavourful (and oily).

The waiters are constantly observing your mookatas and will automatically top them up with soup when the levels drop. The ring containing the soup is really shallow and stuffing the pieces of cabbage was a bit of an art form. The soup itself is really tasty with a hint of fish sauce. It’s not sour nor is it spicy…basically, it’s not Tom Yum. However, it gets really salty when the soup is about half the level from the top.

I recommend grilling all the meats and seafood instead of boiling them in the soup. Exception to this would be the prawns. The really fun part of the whole mookata eating experience is preventing everything from slipping and sliding (especially the seafood). The highlight would have to be the chilli sauces. One of the chilli sauces is similar to our Chicken Rice chilli sauce while the other one was more robust and thicker without any vinegar. I think it was the sauce that gave the punch in Tom Yum Kungfu’s name!

Tom Yum Kungfu made me feel like I was in Bangkok with the smokiness and the Thai pop music blasting through the speakers. The decor was a quirky blend of traditional, practical and modern. If they went the Japanese/ Korean BBQ way and had individual exhausts above each table, the ambience would’ve been drastically changed. Needless to say, we left the place smelling like grilled meat. Same went for my bag which I had to air out for 2 days and I went so far as to spray perfume on it. I don’t mind going back to Tom Yum Kungfu but next time…I’ll be sitting outside with the breeze blowing.

Do check out their lunch specials as they’re cheaper than the dinner sets. They do have promotions from time to time so do check out their Facebook page here.

Tom Yum Kungfu
16 Circular Road
Tel: +65 65361646

56 Serangoon Garden Way
Tel: + 65 62850345

Website: http://www.tomyumkungfu.com/ 
Email: sawasdee@tomyumkungfu.com  

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