Food Stand: Nong’s Khao Man Gai null
City: Portland, Oregon

I love Portland for their public transportation, with Tri-Met. Portland’s public transportation system is efficient, unlike the SF Bay Area. We have BART and Caltrain as our main train companies, but BART only goes along the eastern part of the bay while Caltrain goes along the western part. Then we have local bus systems. Tri-Met makes it very convenient and easy to get in and around Portland, with a single mobile app. They have a 1-day ticket for $5, and you can pay by NFC at the train station, or by using the app and showing the pass to the bus driver. And I don’t need the hassle of carrying another card (hear that, Clipper card?!).

Anyhow, I did a solo trip from Beaverton to Downtown Portland, to check out the AT&T MLS All-Star open training session at Providence Park. I thank the King family for informing me about this! I got to watch Bayern Munich and the MLS All-Star teams practice. Both teams had their own way of practicing. Bayern used minimal equipment, while the All-Star team used tons of different equipment. I don’t know if it’s because Bayern was the visiting team, so they naturally wouldn’t bring much gear with them.

providence park

Bayern Munich practiced from 10am to 11:30am. I left around 11am to grab food as I was hungry, and wanted avoid the crowd leaving the park for lunch. The King family had also told me about Nong’s Khao Man Gai and how it was awesome, so I decided to check it out! It was a ~10 min walk from Providence Park.

nong's khao man gai

Nong’s Khao Man Gai is located in (literally) a square block full of various food stands. Nong’s Khao Man Gai specializes in only one thing- khao man gai, or Thai chicken and rice, with soybean sauce and soup on the side. They even have a note on their window door that explained their dish.

nong's khao man gai - dish explaination

Free range chicken is the best for chicken and rice dishes! I ordered one khao man gai. They gave my order in a paper bag, as shown below.

khao man gai packaged

I walked to a nearby park to eat my food. After sitting down, I unpacked my lunch and was surprised to see how the chicken and rice dish was packed!

nong's khao man gai - food taken out

Upon unwrapping, I was further amazed to see how nicely the food was arranged. It was too good-looking for a meal from a street vendor!

khao man gai

I poured the sauce over the chicken and rice, little by little with every bite….

yummy khao man gai

… until it was all gone.

no more khao man gai

Sniff. ‘Twas hecka yummy.

I’m definitely coming back here next time I’m in town. And getting my hands on a bottle of that darn good sauce.


Nong’s Khao Man Gai also has a video of how to “properly” eat the chicken and rice.

Instead of scooping the soup in between bites, I drank the soup all at once, after eating all the chicken and rice. Yum.


And now for some info/excerpt on khao man gai, from shesimmers:

Khao Man Gai, one of the most common street foods in Thailand, is, in short, a mutation, albeit controlled, of Hainanese chicken and rice. Overshadowed by the original dish and rarely included on the menus of most Thai restaurants in the West, Khao Man Gai (RTGS: khao man kai ข้าวมันไก่) is not widely known outside of Thailand. For us, however, this is a national favorite. In fact, just the mere mention of the name could cause collective panting in greedy anticipation.

And the reason is simple — it tastes good. How can you say no to slices of juicy and tender capon meat served with fragrant rice cooked in rich broth and a unique piquant sauce of ginger, garlic, chillies, and soy? As much as I adore the Hainanese version, it just so happens that I had already fallen in love with the Thai version before I discovered the original. I like the more spicy sauce offered by the Thai version as it balances out the richness of the chicken and the rice better, in my opinion.

From my description of this dish as a mutation, you can probably tell that it is not exactly identical to Hainanese chicken and rice. Then again, it should be noted that Khao Man Gai should not be regarded as a failed attempt to replicate the original and, therefore, inferior. The dish has become an almost entirely new entity — a delicacy in its own right. In fact, although most Thai people intellectually know that the dish is inspired by a Hainanese dish, I think we have come to think of this version as our own.

What amuses me about Khao Man Gai is how its appearance is the same regardless of where you find it in Thailand. It’s as if there’s a universal code governing the manner in which the dish is to be presented which all Khao Man Gai vendors nationwide abide by. Slices of steamed or boiled capon meat are placed over a mound of rice. Cucumber slices and fresh cilantro leaves serve as a quintessential garnish. Sometimes, a few slices of cooked congealed chicken blood (it’s not that bad …) is also added to the mix. The chicken-rice plate is then accompanied by a bowl of piping hot chicken consommé with a few pieces of Chinese winter gourd (whose Thai name is pronounced exactly like the way this little girl pronounces “frog“) swimming in it. The broth, to be slurped between bites, helps move the chicken and rice along your esophagus more smoothly.