The word mu kratha literally means pan pork in Thai ("mu" translates to “pig” or “pork” and “kratha” to “pan” or “skillet”). Mu kratha resembles a combination of a Korean barbecue and a Chinese hot pot. It is believed to have originated from the Korean barbecue grill. It is usually used with a gas stove whereas the Thai version uses charcoal. The dining concept spread throughout Thailand and into Malaysia and Singapore.
Preparation and serving
Sliced meat (most often pork) is grilled on the dome in the centre while the vegetables and other ingredients, such as fish balls, cook in the soup (also called Thai suki). The hot pot sits on a trough burning charcoal which grills or steams the ingredients. The best foods for this cooking method are pork, chicken, mutton, lamb, seafood, vegetables and mushrooms. The local traditional Thai mu kratha is usually served with “nam chim suki”. Nam chim suki is one of the popular dipping sauces in Thailand. It's well known for using chili sauce as the main ingredient. Some of the restaurants may serve "nam chim seafood" for eating with seafood. Before eating "mu kratha" a lard has to grilled at the center of the pan so the fat from a lard can cover the surface of the pan. Because of this, the meat won't stick to the pan while being grilled.
In popular culture
Since about 25 years Thailand has a lot of places offering mu kratha steamboat as it is easy to prepare and suits with a variety of foods. In the past it lost on popularity due to hygiene concerns but experienced a comeback in Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia.