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Cheap Eats: Chick’n Rice


Photo by Chickn-Rice Yelp.com

Why go? There are few East Bay restaurants serving khao mun gai, but Chick’n Rice, newly open in downtown Berkeley, specializes in the popular Thai street food.

What’s the vibe like? The small space successfully blends contemporary and barnyard, with chicken wire pendant lamps hanging from a black painted ceiling and red metal chairs at wooden tables. Cal students dominate the lunch crowd.

What to order? The KMG (khao mun gai): impossibly juicy poached chicken served cold with fragrant jasmine rice steamed in chicken broth, plus cucumber slices and cilantro. The star is the sauce: a powerful punch of garlic, ginger, and fermented soy beans. A sweet soy-braised pork option sings without sauce and comes with soft-boiled egg and gai lan. Fried KMG and tofu are also available.

Added bonus: For a sweet finish, try mango sticky rice with a choice of coconut, Thai iced tea, or lychee ice-cream flavors.

How much? The small plate is $8.99, and a regular is $10.99. Both include a side of chicken broth.

2136 Center St., Berkeley, (510) 990-6576, eatchicknrice.com. Lunch and dinner daily. $

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