The Thai BBQ near Bophut temple is a local gem in Koh Samui, frequented by Thai’s & expats alike but rarely sees tourists. Thai BBQ in Thai is pronounced as moo-gra-tha or moo-ka-ta, which means pork skillet and offers an authentic Thai dining experience on a budget.
Essentially moo ka ta is a combination of a hotpot and BBQ. Basically, its a dome shaped pan with a rim around the edge over hot coal, which is placed in the middle of a table (usually for up to 4 people) that you share to cook the food you want. The idea is the middle is used for cooking meat and the rim for vegetables, noodle and soup (and anything else you want to boil, e.g. egg or shrimp). For those who have had Korean BBQ, it is very similar.
I’m going to sell the Thai BBQ to you early on by saying it’s just 139 Baht for all you can eat (at time of writing)! If that isn’t enough to catch your attention, then this will: they have pretty much everything imaginable! Marinaded beef, pork and chicken, shrimp, squid, shellfish, liver, kidney, every type of vegetable known to man, seaweed, sea sponge, dim sum, fried rice, french fries, laab (spicy meat salad), som tam (spicy salad), fish cakes, Thai tortilla chips (that’s basically what they are), fresh fruit, cake, ice cream and so much more I can’t remember it all.
You simply grab a plate and help yourself to what you want then go cook it on your BBQ!
Especially on Koh Samui where there are so many expensive restaurants, Thai BBQ is fantastic value for money. Its also very healthy and a proper Thai experience for visitors to Thailand. Do expect to pay heavily for drinks (this is where they make money) but even so is still cheaper than the tourist bars. You will also get charged around 20 Baht for the bucket of ice for your drinks too, so don’t be surprised by that. For a group of 4 including drinks expect to pay 800-1,000 Baht. Undeniably brilliant.
Thai BBQ Bophut in Koh Samui is located within walking distance from Fishermans Village about 50 meters before the Bophut traffic lights on the left coming from Chaweng, right opposite Bophut temple (the big yellow wall). It is easily identified by the series of neon light outside and is usually packed with local Thais and the odd westerner (usually a local expat). There is plenty of parking for both cars and motorbikes inside and on the road outside.
There are several Thai BBQ’s around Koh Samui, the other most notable one being in Maenam where I prefer the marinades on the meat.
Top Tip: Go between 6pm and 7:30pm when it is usually quieter, when all the food is at its freshest and you don’t have to wait for the staff to bring out more stuff as it’s devoured by the crowds.
A friendly heads up: to combat people abusing the self-service and not eating the food they have taken, most Thai BBQs charge 100 Baht per item left. There is a little leniency but leaving plates full at the end will get you charged, so take your time and fill your plates with only what you’ll eat…remember you can take as many trips to the buffet area as you need!