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Fearless Critic restaurant review
Portland
Food
Feel
Price
8.0
6.5
$5
Thai
Food cart

Hours
Mon–Fri 10:00am–2:00pm

Features Outdoor dining
Bar None
Credit cards None

www.khaomangai.com

Downtown
SW 10th and Alder
Portland, OR
(971) 255-3480
Nong’s Khao Man Gai
Elevating the humble chicken to heights unknown

This is our favorite food cart in Portland. The operation has won us over with its simplicity. This kitchen does one dish, and does it excellently: chicken and rice.

You might consider the dish Hainanese or you might consider it Thai, but it’s also similar to street food you might find in the Straits (Singapore or Malaysia), Vietnam, or, really, anywhere in Southeast Asia. They’ve really got the Southeast Asian street food gig down, more than any other food cart in the PDX area.

One of the most authentic (and green) little touches is the lack of a plate. Instead, the skinless chicken breast, after having been gently boiled in a gingery stock, is sliced up and slapped on paper and hoisted out to you with a delicious soy-garlic-ginger-and-chili dipping sauce, along with soup made from bland but insides-warming vegetable stock and some chunks of Chinese winter squash. For a buck extra, they’ll add chicken livers to the pile of tender, moist chicken breast for a more intense flavor experience. Which we highly recommend.

But the truly amazing thing is how carefully the chicken is cooked. We’ve had far too much overcooked breast meat in our time, so to find such a moist, tender version really makes us happy. It’s like rediscovering a new protein.

Skip the underwhelming Vietnamese coffee, which is pretty much the opposite of an intense flavor experience. Juices pack a bit more punch, as in palm or lychee versions.

The good flavors, good people, and uniquely authentic experience elevate Nong’s to the very top of the food-cart ladder.

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