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Thai Exotica: Hainan Chicken and Rice, Khanom Jeen, and Thai Aree

Seth Zurer | Feb 5, 200410:56 PM

In a recent conversation with my father, he recalled for me again a chinese/malaysian dish that he used to eat regularly in the markets of far southern thailand - Hainan Chicken and Rice (Naa Mun Gai in Thai) . This is ostensibly a simple dish, boiled chicken cooked with rice that takes on the essential flavors of the chicken fat. I gather from a few posts here that Penang in chinatown has the dish on the menu (Zim wrote it up) and ErikM mentions it in his translation of TAC Quick Thai menu. ([BROKEN LINK REMOVED])

Has anyone spotted the dish at any other restaurants? Has anyone tried the rendition at TAC Quick? Would you recommend one restaurant's version over another?

Another dish my father mentioned was a noodle dish, using the same khanom jeen white rice noodles we ate in pork blood at Thai Avenue: khanom jeen naam yaa. He was a little vague about what it should taste like: I gather it was a rich dense sauce served over the noodles. Maybe he can elaborate further. I'd be curious to hear if any of the sages here can point me in the right direction to try it in the city.

Finally, there was an impromptu outing to Thai Aree last night. When I first posted here, Zim's recommendation of Thai Aree was one of the very first chowhound suggestions I folowed up on and I've been returning regularly ever since. Many many dishes were ordered, including such Thai Aree classics as tiger cry, tom yum goong (which I don't think I've eaten a better version of anywhere in chicago) and pork laab. But a real standout for me was the pad ka prow with squid and toasted dried chilis - pad ka prow is the deep rich basil based dish that my mother uses as her benchmark for thai cooking; this version was earthy and smoky with real slow burn heat, and a subtle sweetness. I enjoyed it alot.


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