One of the most popular restaurants in Bangkok, Thailand is MK. When I say ‘popular’, I mean lines outside the door popular at many of MK’s branches. MK is a sukiyaki-style restaurant, or hot pot restaurant. For those not familiar with sukiyaki, it’s a form of cooking where seafood, meat and vegetables is cooked in a huge ‘hot pot’ of soup that sits in the middle of your table. Not only delicious, sukiyaki is healthy, low-calorie and cheap and MK serves some of the best.
MK Restaurant Branches in Bangkok – The wonderful thing, if you’re an MK restaurant fan in Bangkok, they are everywhere (and all over Thailand too). Central Ladprao, MBK mall, Siam Paragon, Pahonyothin Road, Central World Plaza, Esplanade Mall and Siam Square are just a few of the hundreds of locations. To spot an MK restaurant, just look for the huge letters ‘M’ and ‘K’ in red with a green bar underneath that says “Restaurants”. Can’t really miss it though – there’s an MK restaurant on what seems like every block in Bangkok.
How Does MK Work? – If you’re not familiar with sukiyaki restaurants, don’t worry, it’s easy. When you get to MK, the waitress will give you a menu and you choose as many small dishes as you like. These will be dishes of raw pork, raw beef, raw shrimp, raw squid, raw vegetables, mushrooms, etc. Choose as many as you think you can eat but you don’t have to order all at once. You can order more later if you’re still hungry. Dishes are usually around 15-40 baht each (45 cents to $1.20). As you’re ordering, the waitress will be keying everything into her hand-held PDA, so the kitchen is already preparing your order.
Also make sure you order several bowls of rice, and some of the side dishes (like duck), that have already been cooked and are ready to eat (ie: you don’t cook them in the soup).
Then, the waitress will turn on the electric plate on your table and a huge pot of soup will be brought to your table and placed on it to heat up. This is where you cook your food.
The food will follow almost immediately – tiny tray after tiny tray of food, which will be stacked up on top of each other on your table. Now, start cooking your food. Place as much of each type of food in the soup as you want and wait 2-3 minutes for it to cook. Take it out with your chopsticks or large spoons provided, dip in one of the many delicious sauces on your table and eat. Keep adding food to the soup as the pot becomes empty. A waiter will come around to refill your soup as the volume decreases. Simple. And delicious.
Recommended Dishes at MK Restaurants – MK is famous throughout Thailand for its roast duck. Already cooked, it’s around $3.50 for a plate, but absolutely delicious. So much so, very few people eat at MK restaurants without ordering duck.
For food you cook in the soup bowl, don’t miss the prawns, squid, fresh beef and, of course, plates and plates of fresh vegetables. There are so many dishes to choose from though and, as they’re incredibly cheap, you should try as many as you can fit in your stomach.
Prices at MK Restaurant – For a meal for four (everyone shares the food), you can get away with $5 each at MK restaurants. This is for an enormous amount of food that will take you one to two hours to eat. Drinks are also cheap, at an average of 20 baht (65 cents) with a choice of teas, fruit juices, iced coffees etc.
For a cheap yet healthy and delicious meal, you can’t beat MK restaurants. My only caveat is this. You will also see MK Gold restaurants spotted around Bangkok. Don’t waste your time as, even though the restaurant chain is trying to say it’s a higher-class of restaurant, it’s not. The food is the same. It’s only the prices that are higher.