Imagine a restaurant in which almost everyone is eating the same dish or variations of it. This happens on a daily basis at Phuket Town’s Kota Khao Man Gai.
With the fluorescent lighting turned on even when the sun is shining outside, ceiling fans the size of plane propellers, and nothing more exotic than Coca Cola red-and-white tablecloths, it’s hard to imagine that this is one of Phuket Town’s most successful eateries but it has been for 50 years now. Kota Khao Man Gai has been run by the Jiraamornrat family since 1962 and is a legend amongst locals and shoppers from out of town.
Khao man gai is steamed chicken with rice known to some as Hainanese chicken rice although strictly speaking the Thai version served here is a hybrid of this dish. And what a dish it is: slices of tender chicken with fragrant rice cooked in rich broth and a unique piquant sauce of ginger, garlic, chillies, and soy. This is all accompanied by a sprig or two of coriander, slices of cucumber, spring onions and a bowl of scalding-hot chicken consommé sometimes served up with a few slices of Chinese winter gourd.
On the wall is a ‘Clean food good taste’ declaration, meaning that food officials have inspected the restaurant and passed it according to their regulations. Be sure to look for this green-and-blue sign when eating in mid-range Thai restaurants here.
Service is to the point and effective with the Mrs. Jiraamornrat wandering through the tables, making sure that everyone is served and happy and a surprising amount of westerners pass by, have a look in, and decide to have lunch here. Most khao man gai outlets close when supplies run out so don’t expect to eat this dish at nighttime.
Simple, delicious and nutritious, khao man gai is a must-try if passing through Phuket and the best in town is at Kota Khao Man Gai.
Kota Khao Man Gai
- Opening Hours: from 10:00 to when supplies run out
- Location: 16 - 18 Soi Surin Montri (near the traffic circle with the clock in the middle).