I have written about Khao Man Gai before on this website. It’s the Thai version of Hainanese Chicken and Rice: boiled chicken over rice cooked in chicken fat with a chilli sauce. What I haven’t though written about before is the variety of different approaches to cooking this dish in Thailand. Today I am going to write about Khao Man Gai Baan, which is what is pictured above and below.
Served in Banana Leaf
First difference from the regular version of Khao Man Gai is that this one is served in a banana leaf in a package which was pre-prepared. Nothing unusual about the soup or the chilli sauce, however, the chicken tasted different.
Genuine Free Range Chickens
The special feature of Khao Man Gai Baan is that the chicken they use is ‘Gai Baan’ which means house chicken in English. The production of Khao Man Gai Baan is a small scale cottage industry where the meat used comes from the chickens Thai people sometimes keep roaming around their backyard or coconut or rubber tree plantation. I bought this one from Thong Sala in Koh Phangan, which is relatively undeveloped and there are lots of chickens roaming free between the backyards and coconut plantation of the owners.
Not Produced Commercially
If you want to try Khao Man Gai Baan you need to get up early and have some advice from a local on where to buy it. The shop where I bought this only does a 100 or so portions a day and I had to get in quick to secure mine. House chickens are not very big and do not contain much meat. You can’t buy it commercially because it is not produced on a large scale. You will though find a small shop in many rural areas in Thailand selling this dish ready wrapped in Banana Leaf for 40 to 60 THB a go depending where in Thailand you are.