9 Restaurants In Singapore Where You Can Eat Melted Cheese With Meat And Seafood

Cheese lovers, there’s more to rejoice about. Gooey melted cheese, usually associated with pizza, pasta and fondue, is stretching its way into steamboats, Korean barbecue hotplates and mookata, Thai-style barbecue steamboat.

At least eight restaurants have started offering melted cheese as a dip for meats and seafood.

Scroll the gallery to check out some of these restaurants.

Newer entrants include Cheese Story Mookata Buffet and Jackpot K Seafood & Cheese BBQ Buffet, both in Golden Mile Complex, and Hook On Steamboat in Changi Road, which has a dipping pot of cheese-infused chicken stock.

In restaurants serving cheesy Korean barbecues, the cheese is melted either on the grill or in a side compartment, while in mookata, it is placed in the soup trough around the dome-shaped grill.

Most of the restaurants use both mozzarella and cheddar cheeses for their dip. Mozzarella gets stretchy when melted but has a mild, milky flavour, while cheddar cheese is saltier and richer.

Grilled seafood and meat, as well as fried foods such as sausage and luncheon meat, are dipped into the cheese before being eaten.

According to Mr Kim Jin Wone, 47, owner of Nanta BBQ in Thomson Road, the idea of adding cheese to hotplates originated in South Korea about three years ago.

At his Korean restaurant, which opened in January last year, cheese pork spare rib sets, which consist of gojuchang-seasoned ribs served with cheese and sides such as steamed egg and salsa, are bestsellers. He sells about 1,000kg of spare ribs a month.

The melted cheese trend spread to mookata eateries in Thailand last year, landing here around the same time.

One of the first places to introduce cheese mookata here is buffet restaurant Ladyboy Mookata/ Steamboat Cheese in Geylang Road, which did so last December.

Owner Wilson Solomon Koh, 26, says: “These buffets are meant for cheese lovers. For them, anything that is dipped in cheese will taste nice.”

Thai barbecue chain Mookata has been offering Cheesy Grill sets at its Bugis Junction outlet since April. It also has outlets in Yishun and Katong.

Owner Lee Bajin believes that it will sit well with younger diners who frequent the Bugis area.

The 33-year-old says: “Young people are familiar with eating nacho cheese and tortilla chips while watching movies.”

He adds that about 30 per cent of his customers, mostly youngsters, go for the Cheesy Grill sets, which come with ingredients such as bacon enoki wraps and bak kwa that can be dipped in cheese.

Another eatery hoping to attract more young customers is Hook On Steamboat in Changi Road, which started serving a lighter version of melted cheese dip four months ago.

The 11-year-old barbecue-cum- steamboat restaurant, which used to be at East Coast Road, offers a pot of cheese mixed with chicken stock, mayonnaise and seasonings such as onion powder.

Diners dip grilled items into the pot – like a cheese fondue.

Co-owner Jason Seah, 33, says: “Cheese sauce can be cloying. Making it lighter means diners do not feel full so fast and can try more items on the buffet line.”

Over the past four months, the restaurant has seen youngsters make up 80 per cent of its customers. Previously, they made up slightly more than half of the customers.

Mr Seah says: “Adding cheese into steamboats makes it a visual spectacle, with some customers standing on chairs to stretch the melted cheese from the pot.”

At Cheese Story Mookata Buffet in Golden Mile Complex, which opened in June this year, its melted cheese dip sets it apart from the growing number of mookata joints here, says owner Elvis Ooi, 33.

The buffet stall sells 60 to 70 mookata sets daily. The most popular item to pair with cheese is crayfish.

He says: “The cheese helps to mask the fishy flavour of crayfish.”

Diners are loving the cheese offerings. Civil servant Wendy Koh, 32, who has been to Cheese Story four times, says: “Meats dipped in cheese are more flavourful.”

Polytechnic student Robin Goh, 19, who goes for Korean barbecue every fortnight, and has visited Jackpot K once, says he prefers to dip barbecued items in cheese rather than ssamjang (fermented bean paste).

He says: “Cheese tastes better with firmer meats as the cheese flavours become more apparent when you chew on the meat.”

Images: ST Photo, PaylessImages / 123RF.com
Text: Kenneth Goh
For similar stories, visit straitstimes.com.

For more food stories, read Review: Doodles, The Customisable Noodles Version Of Shaker Fries and 10 Best Dishes In Singapore You Need To Try Now.


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