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Berkeley’s Chick’n Rice Serves-up Thai Street Food

Sep 20, 2017 08:53AM ● Published by Fran Miller

Quick, simple, and yummy. The newest addition to downtown Berkeley’s bustling Shattuck/Center St. corridor – Chick’n Rice - delivers Thai street food to hungry throngs who may not be entirely familiar with its offerings. But those who do know the traditional dish Khao Mun Gai are flocking to the small, whimsically chicken themed spot.

Owner John Keh fell in love with the popular Khao Mun Gai while in Thailand, and was inspired to introduce the dish to the states. Consisting of slices of juicy and tender chicken served with fragrant rice cooked in rich broth, and a unique piquant sauce of ginger, garlic, chilies, and soy, it’s a simple dish that is virtually unknown outside of Thailand. With co-owner Chavayos (Bob) Rattakul, Keh wandered Thailand, trekking from food stall to food stall in search of the most perfectly poached chicken, the most fragrant rice, and the most flavorful sauces and seasonings. The duo discovered the best of each element in their travels from Bangkok to Chang Mai to Chang Rai, the flavors of which are captured in Chick’n Rice’s humble yet deliciously substantial dishes. 

Keh and Rattakul created their recipes from scratch. The simple menu includes chicken, fried chicken, or braised pork, all served with rice, cucumbers, cilantro, sweet and sour sauce and a side of soul-warming chicken broth soup. A vegetarian option is also available. Add-on options include a soy marinated egg, additional greens, and additional rice. The single traditional Thai dessert option is mango ice cream with sticky rice. Authentic Thai canned and bottled beverages include Thai iced tea, coconut water, guava juice, lychee juice, and mango juice.

Keh and Rattakul plan for rapid Bay Area expansion, and aim for the brand to become the number one Thai fast-casual restaurant in the country. Dine now in the streamlined Center St. location with its chicken motif walls in order to claim, “I was there first.”

Chick’n Rice: 2136 Center Street, Berkeley (between Shattuck and Oxford). 11am to 10pm

Eat+Drink