Sherman's Food Adventures: Nong's Khao Man Gai

Nong's Khao Man Gai

With not really a plan for dinner on our second night in Portland, we decided to go back to the well with a PDX classic - Nong's Khao Man Gai.  Yes, it is that famed food stall that dishes up one dish - poached chicken and rice with an addictive sauce.  However, quite awhile back, they opened up several B&M stores including the one at SE Ankeny.  This little counter-service spot is small and overflows into the outdoor sidewalk seating.  Well, it was a bit cold for us to sit out there and luckily, we scored one of the precious indoor seats.

Of course, we had to get the regular portion of the Khao Man Gai featuring a poached chicken breast atop Mary's non-GMO chicken rice.  Sure, we also got some cucumbers and a side of soup, but the star of the plate is their addictive sauce.  Sweet, gingery and garlicky, this sauce is like liquid crack.  You can put that on shoe leather and it would taste great.  But in this case, it was on tender and moist chicken with an aromatic and chewy rice.  To customize your plate of food, they also have a small fridge with all the condiments including hot sauce.

Naturally, we wanted a bit of variety with the meal so we also got the Super Soup which was essentially the previous dish in one bowl.  So imagine the same sweet daikon chicken soup with slices of the tender chicken and chewy rice.  This was so comforting and full of impact from the intense sweetness of the broth.  The bevy of chicken made this hearty and fulfilling.  Add in the rice that absorbed the soup while not being soggy, this was a Thai chunky soup.

Another variation of the same ingredients was with the Chicken, Rice and Peanut Sauce.  So the same chewy fragrant rice with sliced chicken breast on top, but drizzled aggressively with a thick peanut sauce and some crushed roasted peanuts.  This came with a side of lightly blanched broccoli.  I found the peanut sauce to be nutty and aromatic with some sweetness.  I thought it was pleasant, but for me at least, I much prefer their signature dish with that crack sauce.  I did think the peanut sauce went well with the broccoli.

Lastly, we had the Khao Kha Muu which was also very comforting.  It consisted of stewed pork, pickled mustard greens and boiled egg on jasmine rice with Thai chili sauce.  This had Cantonese Miu Choy Kau Yeuk vibes (Stewed Pork Belly with Mustard Greens) and that was a good thing.  So rich and meaty with tanginess where the rice soaked it all up.  So as much as the rest of the dishes were good, it is all about the signature chicken rice here.  You can't go wrong with it.

The Good:
- That sauce with the chicken rice...
- Reasonably-priced
- Other dishes are decent too

The Bad:
- Limited indoor seating


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