Chicken rice may call to mind the classic Hainanese dish, which marries poached poultry with fragrant jasmine rice. But at Khao Man Gai, it's all about Thailand's take on the much-loved dish – in fact, the restaurant is named after it.

And according to owners Chorlada “Corey” Ratchatapat and Nonthawat “Nathan” Kongsarai, it's the first restaurant in Melbourne dedicated to khao man gai (which roughly translates to “fatty chicken rice”).

The popular Thai recipe begins with boiling a whole chicken until it releases its oils. The broth is then used to cook the rice, along with a heavy hit of fresh garlic and ginger.

There are nine chicken rice options to choose from. The "original" is truest to form, pairing skin-on slices of chicken breast and thigh with rice, cucumber and tao jiew (fermented soybean sauce). Alternatively, you might try swapping poached chicken for fried, skinless or a combination; or subbing out tao jiew for peanut sauce.

It’s tough to stray from the namesake, but there's also chicken curries and chicken noodle soup on offer – both made with the same broth that’s used for the khao man gai.

To drink, crowd-favourites include the sweet Thai milk tea and green milk tea. It's also licensed, with a drinks list including Corey’s signature cocktail, the Miss Thailand (with vodka, peach schnapps, mango puree, lime and mint), Thai beers like Singha and Chang, and a range of Australian wines.

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Updated: May 3rd, 2023

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