Since starting this blog, we’ve gotten a fair number of requests for Thai restaurant recommendations. Although we don’t eat Thai food out much these days, we always love the opportunity to try new things… And our trip to Thailand last fall presented a great chance to get out and explore some new restaurants in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
We’ll start off this “Restaurant Highlight” series with some of our favorite restaurants in Thailand, and plan to eventually expand to showcase some U.S.-based Thai restaurants as well. We’re hoping that these posts will help to answer the question of where to find great Thai food, whether you’re visiting Thailand or are at home in the U.S.
One of our first stops in Bangkok was Gai Tawn Pratunam (ไก่ตอนประตูน้ำ) which specializes in khao man gai (Thai-style chicken and rice).
It’s sometimes also called Go Ang Khao Man Gai after the owner, or just Pratunam Khao Man Gai based on its location. We had heard a lot about this restaurant from locals, and wanted to see for ourselves what the hype was all about. Khao man gai is also one of my favorite simple, yet satisfying Thai dishes, and was just what I needed after the long journey to get to Thailand.
The restaurant is easy to spot on the corner of Petchaburi road, with two sides open to the busy street and a food cart stationed by servers wearing pink out front for those who want their meal to go. We chose an inside table away from the hustle and bustle of the street and within a matter of minutes were enjoying a delicious breakfast of chicken and rice.
The chicken was served at room temperature, having been plucked from a bucket of boiled chickens and sliced moments before by the servers on the street in front of us. It was piled with a generous layer of skin and fat on top of a mound of subtly flavored rice. Unlike some other versions of khao man gai, the rice at Gai Tawn Pratunam is not overpoweringly garlicky or gingery. This allows the succulent flavor of the chicken to really shine.
I’ve read that the owner of this establishment really prides himself on the chickens, hand picking only the chickens which have been raised to be especially fat (known in Thai as “gai tawn”, ไก่ตอน) to ensure that the meat will be very tender and moist.
The real star of this dish, though, is the dipping sauce. This sauce is wonderfully composed with Thai chilis, garlic, and ginger taking the lead, providing a burst of spice and fragrance to an otherwise simple chicken and rice dish. Since it is served on the side, you get to decide whether you are feeling up to tons of flavor or just want a subtle kick of spice with your dish.
Hubby and I both really enjoyed this straight forward, but delicious version of khao man gai. It made for a perfect breakfast on our first day in Bangkok and set the stage for more tasty adventures to come…
Restaurant: Gai Tawn Pratunam | ไก่ตอนประตูน้ำ
Address: Soi Petchaburi 30, New Petchaburi Road, Makkasan, Ratchawithi, Bangkok, Thailand