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Bangkok: It’s the Sauce, Stupid!
No matter where you are in Bangkok, a khao mun gai vendor is only a stone’s throw away. Just look for a row of cooked chickens hanging from hooks on a stall. The chicken—either fried or boiled, with skin or without—provides the protein. The rice is slowly boiled in chicken broth. The salivating taste comes from the dark red spicy sauce, nam jim, that smothers everything. A colorful blend of chili, ginger, sugar, vinegar and dark soy sauce, nam jim is deliciously addictive.
Where is the best khao mun gai in Bangkok? That debate would rage for years. But if you’re looking for a delicious variant on street cuisine, check out Boon Tong Kiat, a Singaporean restaurant between sois 12 and 14 on the upscale Thong Lo road. It’s a tad more pricey than what you’ll find on the street, but the quality makes it worth the extra baht, as the locals who pack the restaurant for lunch and dinner will attest.
The rice sets Boon Tong Kiat’s khao mun gai apart. Its orange hue, delicious meaty scent and firm texture will make you snatch up every last grain. The choice cut chicken sits beside the rice. The nam jim is lighter and more fluid than most street variants, but just as mouth watering.
You can’t leave Boon Tong Kiat without also ordering the roast duck, which comes sliced in small, medium and large portions (medium is plenty). Dowsed in a rich, dark sauce containing everything from sugar to ginger to parts of the duck itself, the meat simply melts in the mouth. The whole meal will probably cost somewhere between $5 and $7, depending on how much meat and rice you load up on. Either way, every bite will hit the spot.