There used to be a guy at the top of our soi selling khao mun gai. I used to go there quite often to buy my chicken and rice. He was always quite friendly and was keen to practice his English with me. Then, one day, he was no longer there any more. As this was at the height of the “bird flu” scare I guessed he closed his stall because of dwindling customers. Or, maybe he just wheeled it elsewhere because of the fierce competition from the “chicken guy”. This is the muslim man I told you about before who sells fried chicken which not only tastes better than KFC but is also half the price.
Nearly a year has passed now and most people are not so worried about bird flu. You do hear reports about it in the newspapers every now and then, but people tend to ingore it now. After all, it would seem that the majority of people that have died had direct contact with the birds. Either they reared chickens or they were a butcher. So, I was quite excited last week to see a new food shop open around the corner. This not only sold khao mun gai, but also another of my favourites, khao mok gai. It is owned by a muslim family. Their daughter used to be one of my students.
This dish is similiar to the chicken and rice I told you about before. However, the rice in this meal has been coloured yellow with the use of turmeric. To cook khao mok gai, you fry some garlic in a pan until golden brown. You then stir in the rice, curry powder, salt and chicken pieces. You then transfer this mixture to an electric rice cooker. You add the chicken stock and cook for about 20 minutes. Quite simple really.
You don’t really need to be able to read Thai to buy food on the streets. You can usually work out what they are selling by looking at the ingredients in the glass display cabinet. However, it wouldn’t hurt if you could read! In this picture, the top line says khao mun gai tod and khao mun gai. The first one is fried chicken (tod means fried) and the second one is boiled. The second line says khao mok gai tod and khao mok gai. The last line is obviously telling you that a normal plate is only 20 baht (50 cents) and a bit of extra meat (called piset in Thai) is 25 baht.