The Chonticha Khao Lak Barbecue Buffet is an institution in Khuekkak Village. It is located only 5 km from the Khao Lak centre, and is a mere 7-minute drive away. The Khao Lak nightlife may be plentiful in general, but starting any evening with an enjoyable meal in an enjoyable environment is surely going to enhance the evening altogether. The thing is, this restaurant was for many years a one-of-a-kind in the Khao Lak region. Other similar type buffets have since popped up, but the Chonticha remains the biggest and the most popular, especially for Thai residents and busloads of Japanese tourists! (It is worth noting that the Thai word used for “buffet” is “mukrata”, which literally means something like “pork barbecue”. However, Westerners often use the word “Mukatan” to refer to this particular restaurant.)

The Chonticha Barbecue Buffet in Khuekkhak, Khao Lak

What makes this “buffet” so different to other buffet restaurants is that instead of the food being already cooked and presented, customers have to cook their own food. After sitting down at one of the many tables, a dome-shaped cooker with burning embers underneath, is placed in the centre of the table by one of the staff members. A kettle of hot water is positioned beside the cooker. A piece of lard is then placed at the highest part of the dome and allowed to slowly melt down the sides. Each person must then meander through the tables set up with different types of meat, fish and vegetables, and bring it all back to be grilled on the cooker. (Therein lies the reason why the word “barbecue” appears in the full name of the restaurant.) The hot water is poured in a moat-like structure surrounding the dome.  Items such as noodles, green vegetables, tofu and mushrooms are boiled in the water.

Now, I’m not a particularly big eater (which is why Thai-sized meals suit me perfectly), so I often feel like I miss out on the opportunity to eat heaps of food for the same starting price as others when going to a buffet. However, there is a selection of desserts, including chocolate ice-cream, so I make up for the little food that I do eat with several helpings of the ice-cream! Unfortunately, my midriff has expanded somewhat of late, so these days I have to restrain myself if I want to maintain my life-long thinly state.

The Chonticha Khao Lak Barbecue Buffet is opposite the Pichit Ruam Gas Station, just in case you need to fill up your motorbikes or cars. In all regards, including the cheap price of around 150 baht for the meal, going to this Khao Lak restaurant is well worth the visit.


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