Goong Ka Ta, Kai Bae

Buffet restaurant in Kai Bae beach

It’s been a while since I posted any restaurant reviews.  But here’s a place that’s been around for a few years and is very popular with Thai, Chinese and Russian visitors.  That’s not necessarily a bad thing as they know where to stuff their face on a budget.

Thais & Chinese like it because of the communal aspect of this type of restaurant.  You cook your own food at the table – more on this later.  Russians like it because you can eat a lot cheaply. ( And there is also a Russian speaking member of staff. )

And it’s for both these reasons, we’re also big fans.  As with the other reviews, this isn’t based on one visit – I only add places to this section where I’ve had a few good meals in the past.  Goong Kata in the centre of Kai Bae village, is fun, cheap and the quality is surprisingly good for the price.

First, the idea of a restaurant like this is that they provide uncooked seafood and meat and you then cook it, on a Korean style hotpot heated by a charcoal fire on your table.  If that sounds like a recipe for food poisoning then you need to brush up on your knowledge of how to tell if meat & prawns are cooked properly.   The only thing you order are the drinks.

It’s also a buffet, so for 249 Baht ( or 199 Baht before 7pm ) you can eat as much as you like.  The drinks are inexpensive, 100 Baht for a large beer.  If you just want a grill to BBQ food then you pay an extra 89 Baht for a normal grill.  

So, you just turn up.  Sit down.  Order your drinks and a guy will arrive with a big earthenware charcoal filled bucket.  Sitting on top is a metal dish with raised centre.  A jug of clear ‘soup’ will also appear.  Pour this into the metal tray.  You now have the option to either boil the meat and veggies or grill them.  There’s also three sauces, Very Spicy, Hot and Not Quite as Hot.  Next to the vats of sauce, there’s a few bottles of ketchup for the kiddies and Americans.

You take your cooked meat, veggies etc and dunk it in the sauce for some added flavour.  Then eat.  Simple.

The restaurant is called ‘Goong Ka Ta’ for a reason – ‘goong’ = prawn.  Another reason why it’s popular is that unlike many restaurants of this type, it’s not just meat, you can eat as many prawns as you like.  And they fresh and are a decent size.  Of course you need to take the heads, legs and shells off first before cooking.  No-one is going to do that for you.  It’s a very hands on dining experience.

Along with the prawns, there’s also fish, squid and numerous cuts of chicken, pork and beef.  Beef is often a bit on the leathery side in cheap restaurants but here it’s edible – which was  another pleasant surprise first time I tried it.

In addition to the meat there’s a selection of veggies including Enoki mushrooms which are one of my favourites. If you need some carbs with your protein, there are cooked side dishes – french fries, fried rice, potatoes, sweetcorn, nuggets of some type – I think fish and chicken (hard to tell) , and some odd-looking sushi.    There’s also fruit and ‘Namkeng Sai’ – a shaved ice dessert.  You just fill a bowl with jelly bits, ice and sweet coconutty syrup.  It’s very sweet but also delicious.

I’d recommend this restaurant if you’re starving after a day spent snorkelling or trekking.  Or if you want to feed a family cheaply.  Or if you just wanted a more communal experience than the Western way of guarding your own plate of food offers.  Or if you just enjoy people watching

It’s probably not the best spot for romantic dinner.  Or to take a vegetarian. And definitely not a place if you want waiter service and are dressed to impress.

( There are a couple of other similar restaurants on Koh Chang.  Nhong Korea BBQ , located in Chai Chet is a similar price and has a larger selection of desserts.  But overall, I still prefer Kai Bae.  And close to Bhu Tarn Resort in Klong Prao there’s another place that we tried once and haven’t been back. )

Price: $ – $$


Location: It’s easy to spot.  A huge green, open-sided building on the roadside in Kai Bae village. One minute walk south from The Chill and AWA Resort.  

These restaurant reviews are just my thoughts on a place. I’ll mention if I know the owner well or get any freebies. But for the most of the time I am happy to play tourist and never mention this site at all. Obviously it isn’t possible to sample every dish on the menu and the type of food you have for lunch will differ to evening. In addition, owners and more importantly chefs, can change and your experience may differ from mine. If it does, post a comment below. 

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Koh Chang Island Guide For Independent Travellers