Barbeque Chicken in Thailand
I've had fabulous barbequed chicken in Thailand, e.g a plumb, incredibly flavorful one at the Night Market in Hua Hin. But the best I've ever had was in a restaurant in Bangkok. I can't remember the name of the place but it was next to a golf driving range, pretty much in the middle of the city. Apparently the chickens used were the skinny, black-feathered ones from Chiang Mai. The dish itself consisted of very thin plates of chicken still on the bone. The meat was very dry, almost like a jerky and it came from the grill. It was served together with a sauce that was perfumed with a secretion of a big black beetle! The sauce itself had a minty, lemony taste. Together with the meat it was one of the best things I've ever tasted. Other dishes at the restaurant were incredible as well, like tempura out of fresh corn kernels and a salad from banana tree blossoms.
Is this type of chicken found throughout Thailand or was it a speciality of this particular restaurant? I'd love to have it again but I'll never find the place again. It was recommended by a hotel bellhop and the card of the place was stolen together with my wallet a few years ago.
Thanks for any suggestions
Gai yang (BBQ chicken) is one of those simple, ordinary dishes that Thais do brilliantly. I've eaten BBQ chicken all over Asia but never had any to match the many birds I've enjoyed in Thailand. It's an Isaan specialty, so one way to find an excellent version in Bangkok is to ask your taxi driver - most are from Isaan.
The gaiyang place I frequented every wk when I lived in Bangkok has changed hands, and isnt' fantastic anymore. Curt may pop up with a Bangkok gai yang recommendation. I wrote about Chiang Mai's best (according to a Chiang Mai native) at http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatinga...
I'm fascinated with her jerky with beetle juice chicken; I wish she could zero in on it!
Been eating a lot of fried chicken lately.
Polo Chicken still gets a "down hill" report from me; just too darn greasy.
Khun Phen has moved her cart from inside her house to across the street. I guess the neighbors were getting nervous about the hot grease!
I visit a cart on Chan Road frequently. It's just east of Narathiwat Ratchanakarin, in front of the TPI Building.
For gai yang, we hit a place in Wong Sawang. Unfortunately, that's the sticks relative to downtown.
Our favorite gai yang guy near downtown was hit by a car and put out of business. That's one of the big hazards of street cart vending.
The grilled chicken you're describing is a perfect example how grilled chicken should be! (At last, I'm not the only one who finds plump chicken breast the most boring, tasteless protein in the world!) I also like the stringy, almost dry, Thai grilled chicken. It's great because of the texture, and because you get some of the great crispy skin in each bite. My favorite version rubs a mixture of turmeric, garlic, cracked pepper and perhaps a bit of oil before grilling.
The beetle thing you've mentioned is quite common. In Thai it's called maengdaa and gives various dips and sauces a sort of "fruity" flavor (at least that's how it tastes to me--it's really quite hard to pin down). You can still buy the entire insect, but nowadays many people use the artificial maengdaa "essence" that comes in tiny vials and is available at most supermarkets.
> I'm not the only one who finds plump chicken breast the most
> boring, tasteless protein in the world!
I thought chicken breast was reserved for farang?
I had a really great fried chicken from a woman who had a cart by the Central Pier nr. BTS Saphan Taksin. Pulled fresh from the oil, it cooled somewhat while I was taking it back to the hotel. I kept the top of the bag open so that it wouldn't condense too much. The steam scalded my hand and the wonderful scent tested my compliance to the no eating rule until I got off the BTS. No complaints about the sticky rice, either.
Thank you all very much for your replies. Austin, your food blog is outstanding and I will become a regular reader.
Just returned from a short visit to Bangkok and I stopped by Polo Fried Chicken for a stunning meal...the garlic dipping sauce is out of this world and the sticky rice was perfectly suited to soak up the goodness. Next time in Bangkok I will be coming back to this place.