Khao Man Gai OK is run by a mother and a couple of guys in their twenties. A relaxed atmosphere and a good plate of chicken and rice is what awaits you in this (literary) hole in the wall.
I took a friend Khao Man Gai OK as this is one of my standard Khao Man Gai spots. It’s basically a hole in the wall or a fucking dump as my friend told me. The conversation was like this:
I said, it’s here, and i stopped and pointed to the cart.
We gonna eat here, he responded rather surprised?
Yes, this is it.
It’s a fucking dump!
It might look like it, and I tend to agree with you from the look of it, but the chicken rice is good here.
I don’t believe it. This can’t be safe.
It sure is, I said.
Then we got served – the plate of rice with chicken and some slices of cucumbers, a small bowl of dipping sauce and a bowl of soup without the usual bitter guard. No dices of blood either, a component that should have been there to be a correct version of this famous dish.
I’m not sure I’m ready to eat here. Look around, it’s a bit dirty, isn’t it.
Yes, they hasn’t really turned on the charm yet, I said, watching the two brothers sitting there with a rather lazy presence, doing nothing to attract other customers.
You fucking bet they haven’t.
Well, try it, I said and started to eat. Spread most of the sauce over the chicken, took a couple of spoons of the soup and poured it over the rice and started to eat.
Fucking great, I said. It might be daily variations, I said, but today they have hit the top of the nail.
He followed my example, slurping the soup. Yeah, it’s OK he said.
Yes, I said.
It’s actually really good, he said.
It is, I said and we finished the lunch.
A hole in the wall is often just as another name for the old classic Chinese style shop-houses with three walls and an open front towards the street. Khao Man Gai OK and it’s bedroom sized localities at the entrance to the BTS-station Thong Lor is closer to a real hole in the wall than most other venues I have seen in Bangkok. Most westerners will most definitively just pas the location with a grin on their mouth and the word dump in their minds, while local fans shows up in numbers for a good plate.
Khao Man Gai Ok have been operating for close to 15 years now. They tick off on most important criteria’s; good rice, good chicken and most importantly a very good sauce and soup. The rice is fragrant and tasty, the chicken is tender and decent, while the sauce is tangy and spicy without being to vinegar in it’s taste. The most important ingredient is the sauce and that is very good here, in addition to a very decent soup.
Chicken and rice is one of the most common dishes in Bangkok, but it’s also one of the dishes where you’re likely to be disappointed from what you’re served. Most often because the chicken is too dry, secondly because the sauce is unbalances or seven sweat and thirdly because the rice isn’t fragrant and lacks that little oiliness and the complexity in taste you find with the best vendors. Rice isn’t just rice if you tend to think that.
The first time I got here, I started to smile because of the atmosphere; the tiny open hole in the wall, with two long tables that seats about 8, the rather feminine flowery table cloth, the dirty walls and the two rather introvert young men playing techno music while playing their mobile phone. But as always, don’t judge on the look of it. Things aren’t always like the first impression so I had a sit-down and have never regretted.
The Khao Man Gai isn’t the best plate in town, but it’s always a good plate if in the area, even if there can be variations in quality. The sauce is top notch. And when it comes to Khao Man Gai, that actually tells a lot. And it’s literally on the doorstep to BTS Thonglor when coming from Soi Thonglor (Soi 55).
Let’ go for a coffee at Travellers Hostel and Café, I said.
Sure, let’s do.
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Address: 1057/1 Sukhumvit road.
How to get there: Take BTS to Thonglor. Take exit #3 and turn right and you see it after a few meters. Coming from Soi Thong Lor, turn right at Sukhumvit road and continue for about 30 meters, a few meters after the Travelers hostel and Café.