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Here’s the full review of the restaurant: http://www.eatingthaifood.com/2014/10…
Khon Kaen is one of the major cities located in Thailand’s northeastern province of Isan (also spelled Isaan). It’s sort of the rice bowl of Thailand, a huge province where much of the rice is grown and that’s known for its farms and fields. Khon Kaen though, is actually a pretty decent sized city, not too big, but still big enough to have quite a few things to do and quite a few marvelous restaurants to eat at.
One thing you absolutely don’t want to miss eating when you’re in Khon Kaen is som tam (ส้มตำ), which is green papaya salad, paired with grilled chicken, known in Thai as gai yang (ไก่ย่าง). The combination, along with some sticky rice, and in our case, quite a few more dishes as well, it makes a marvelous meal in Isan. There are literally restaurants serving Thai green papaya salad and grilled chicken everywhere you look in Khon Kaen, but one of the more well known spots in the city is a restaurant called Gai Yang Rabeab Kao Suan Kwang (ไก่ย่างระเบียบเขาสวนกวาง).
I’ve eaten quite a lot of gai yang throughout Thailand, so honestly I wasn’t sure what to expect going to Gai yang Rabeab Kao Suan Kwang (ไก่ย่างระเบียบเขาสวนกวาง), but as soon as I walked to the front of the restaurant, and saw the incredibly grilling action at the front, I knew they were doing something right. At Gai Yang Rabeab Kao Suan Kwang (ไก่ย่างระเบียบเขาสวนกวาง), the chickens are very small – in Thai they are known as “gai baan” – which are similar to free range chickens – so they aren’t nearly as plump as other chickens. But I think they have much more flavor, and have better texture, perhaps a bit chewier, but more natural.
The grilling system is pretty amazing. They have small circular clay grills on the bottom, which are then covered by big circular pans. Finally on top of the pans are the grills and the chickens. All the hot coals sit in the bottom grill, probably about 1 foot above the chicken. This method sort of works to slow roast the chicken so they have less direct heat, and so the oil doesn’t drip into the coals and burn the skin. Anyway, as I soon found out, they know a thing or two about grilling chicken.
Although the chicken looked a little dry to me as soon as it arrived at our table, I was amazed at how juicy and flavorful it was. The chicken wasn’t really dry at all, but it was rather quite juicy, and moist. And probably what I loved most about the chicken was that it was so incredibly natural tasting, like real unmodified chicken, and with an amazing grilled smoky flavor to it.
Along with gai yang (ไก่ย่าง), Ying and I also ordered a bunch of other Isan Thai dishes including: Isan pork soup (ต้มแซ่บกระดูกหมู), my favorite version of green papaya salad (ส้มตำลาว), minced pork salad (ลาบหมู), and grilled pork neck (คอหมูย่าง).
I thought overall, the food at Gai Yang Rabeab Kao Suan Kwang (ไก่ย่างระเบียบเขาสวนกวาง) restaurant in Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น) was very good, but I thought the best thing was what they are most well known for: grilled chicken (ไก่ย่าง), which was incredibly delicious.
If you’re ever in Khon Kaen (ขอนแก่น), this is a great restaurant to have a local Isan meal at, and to feast upon Thai style grilled chicken.
Gai yang Rabeab Kao Suan Kwang (ไก่ย่างระเบียบเขาสวนกวาง)
Address: Thepharak Rd, Mueang Khon Kaen District, Khon Kaen, Thailand
Open hours: 9 am – 3:30 pm daily
Music in this video is courtesty of AudioNetwork.com
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Mark Wiens is an eater at: http://migrationology.com/blog & http://www.eatingthaifood.com/blog/
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