Starting September 8th, 2017, you can say goodbye to sad desk lunches because Chick’n Rice is bringing fast-casual Thai dining to the Berkeley food scene. Founded by the creators of restaurant delivery service Caviar, Chick’n Rice focuses on serving the popular Thai-style street food dish, Khao Mun Gai, and aims to bring authentic Thai flavors and cuisine to the table. We were invited to their media event to taste what they had to offer and learn about their establishment.

Kaitlan Tseng

Nestled between Sliver Pizzeria and Guacamole 61 Tacqueria and Bar, this 900 square-foot cozy space is perfect for take-out and quick meal breaks. Its bright red and black logo certainly draws attention and appetite. There is limited seating inside, but the wait-time shouldn’t be too long, as it is a fast-casual restaurant. 

Khao Mun Gai

fish, chicken, rice
Kaitlan Tseng

Khao Mun Gai, the Thai version of Hainanese chicken, is simply poached chicken over fragrant rice, served with a unique ginger-fueled sauce and usually a bowl of chicken broth. Each component of the meal shares an aromatic or ingredient—in this case, chicken flavor.

When prepared well, the eating experience is phenomenal: slices of juicy chicken and individual grains of flavored rice melt in your mouth together, sparked by sweetness, heat, and pungency of the perfect dip. Small sips of light chicken broth help combine flavors and wash every bite down.

Menu Overview 

beer, coffee
Kaitlan Tseng

Chick’n Rice’s simple menu consists of 4 dishes: traditional Khao Mun Gai (KMG), Fried KMG, Braised Pork, and Fried Tofu. All come with rice, veggies, cilantro, sauce of choice, and a side of chicken broth. They are served in disposable wooden bento boxes that are easy to take home or wrap up.

Entrées in Detail

Kaitlan Tseng

KMG at Chick’n Rice is not one to miss out on, especially if you’re craving this particular dish. The poached chicken is great on its own, but pairs well with its respective KMG Thai-style sauce containing garlic, vinegar, ginger, and cilantro. Not a chicken-skin eater? You can’t even tell if you’re eating skin because everything is cooked so tenderly.

ramen, pork, rice
Kaitlan Tseng

Although KMG is Chick’n Rice’s signature dish, the Braised Pork shines. It comes with half of a soy marinated egg and crunchy Thai broccoli that contrasts with the fork-tender pork. The soft-boiled egg unifies this dish, as it is marinated in the same braising sauce as the pork. Although very strong in flavor, the braised pork (sweetened by palm sugar) pairs nicely with plain jasmine rice and refreshing chicken broth.

Topping it off: Dessert

milk, caramel, cream, ice
Kaitlan Tseng

The only dessert option? Mango sticky rice with ice cream—great enough to stand alone. Made on accident by the owners, this dessert comes in a plastic cup and is filled with warm sticky rice and coconut milk, cubes of fresh ripe mango, and a generous scoop of ice cream (coconut, Thai tea, or lychee flavored).

tea, sweet, cream, ice, coffee, dairy product, milk
Kaitlan Tseng

Coconut ice cream makes this a traditional, full-bodied mango sticky rice dessert, while Thai tea ice cream adds slight bitterness but plenty of depth with its roasted flavor. If you’re looking for a light and fruity ending, opt for the lychee ice cream with floral notes.

Wrapping it up

pork, rice
Kaitlan Tseng

Overall, we were impressed by the simple menu with complex and vibrant dishes. While chicken and rice sound bland, Chick’n Rice infuses every dish’s elements with flavor and translates subtle aromas to the palate. Not only is Chick’n Rice reasonably priced, but is also conveniently located near campus and just out of Downtown Berkeley Bart station. Swing by and get a taste of Authentic Thai street food!