Free-range and antibiotic-free
While KFC outlets, chicken rice shops and grilled chicken-on-a-stick vendors are all ubiquitous in Bangkok, finding free-range, antibiotic-free chicken that you know is hygienically prepared is not an easy task. In the Gateway Ekamai shopping centre off Sukhumvit Road, Chicken T delivers exactly that — and it tastes darn good too.
A one-time professor of agriculture, owner Likit Sujikara spent 10 years breeding 20 varieties of native Thai chickens in a quest to create the perfect bird. The obsession resulted in Tanoasree chicken (that’s where the “T” comes from), a new breed that — at least according to the menu — is known for “tenderness, deliciousness and lack of fat.” The restaurant claims its chickens are fed an all-natural diet of Thai herbs that’s free of antibiotics, growth hormones and chemicals. The birds are allowed to roam free on the Tanoasree farm, so aside from being “perfect,” they’re also happy — at least for a while.
Given the shopping centre location alongside several big franchise outlets, uniformed staff and fancy logo and menu, the air-conditioned restaurant feels like part of a chain, but this is the only Chicken T around. It’s a bright, modern and comfortable space that seems to attract a mix of Thai and expat office workers at lunch time.
A mix of traditional Thai and Asian-Western fusion, the menu features chicken, and more chicken. No other meats or fish are available and the only vegetarian option is a “Go Green Pizza”. While Chicken T is known for its upscale version of khao man gai (chicken rice), it also features classics like laap gai, massaman chicken curry and krapao gai (stir-fried chicken with holy basil, garlic and chillies). For something different, go for the green curry chicken spaghetti, spicy northeast Thai chicken pizza or chicken and avocado taco roll. Most dishes cost between 75 and 175 baht while pizzas go for 295 — not cheap but fine value for happy chickens.
We started with a plate of chicken satay (95 baht), which included four chunky chicken skewers along with well balanced sides of cucumber salad and peanut sauce. Seasoned with the standard yellow curry powder, the chicken was melt-in-your-mouth tender. In a further test of the kitchen’s ability to add flavour to its signature chicken, we then went with a bowl of tom yum soup (125 baht). Beyond the excellent chunks of chicken, this happened to be one of the most flavourful versions of tom yum we’ve had in a while.
For the main event, we ordered the Must-try Chicken T Grilled Chicken, which occupies a full page on the menu and requires three ordering steps. First, you choose between a half-chicken for 195 baht, or a full bird for 390. Next, you’re forced to select from six different sauces, including classics like Thai tom yum and sweet chilli sauce, and a more daring Portuguese Peri Peri sauce. Finally, you add a side like garlic rice, sticky rice in banana leaf or baked potato. Extra sides can be added for 15 to 55 baht.
We went for the half-chicken with house Asian herb sauce and garlic rice. Along with a complimentary side of Western-style salad with creamy Italian dressing, the platter hardly fit on our table. The chicken was marinated with a hint of turmeric and grilled to juicy perfection. While tasty, we hardly dipped into the herb sauce as the chicken and fluffy garlic rice had plenty of flavour. For a total of 500 baht including bottled water, tax and tip, we left stuffed; just the grilled chicken and an extra side would have been plenty for the two of us.
To reach Chicken T, take the BTS skytrain to Ekkamai station and follow the raised walkway out of exit 2 that connects to Gateway Ekamai shopping centre. Chicken T is on the ground floor, tucked into the corner almost as far away from True Value grocery store as you can get. The restaurant also has a street entrance off Sukhumvit Soi 42. If you don’t feel like going out, happy chickens can also be delivered.
Address: G106, Gateway Ekamai (ground floor), Sukhumvit 42, Bangkok
T: (02) 108 2884 , (026) 635 5015
Coordinates (for GPS): 100º35'5.35" E, 13º43'9.43" N
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David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
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