Nong’s Thai Chicken of Portland
It’s too bad this downtown location is closed.
Don’t worry, there’s another one that’s open.
Nong’s Khao Man Gai tl;dr
Nong’s Chicken! The famous boiled chicken food truck in Portland! Seen in many magazines especially write ups on the Portland food scene. Having extensively cooked our own Malaysian version of Hainanese Chicken Rice, which is really what this is most akin to in my eyes, we had to check out their rendition.
Great Chicken Rice Dish Found at Nong’s in Portland
Unfortunately the food truck itself, located in the food truck circle, literally a minute from our hotel, surprisingly isn’t actually open on the weekend. Without admitting defeat we decided to hunt down their brick and mortar branch to share a plate to see what the fuss is about.
After trekking across town we found that their actual location is a smaller open kitchen space; with 4 tables opening up to a larger kitchen area. Nong’s was set smack dab in the middle of a building with a few other kitchens. Ordering was simply done, you just ordered their mainstay chicken which comes with a side of soup and rice. We also added on some of their crispy chicken skin to snack on while waiting for our food.
One observation is that when the food came out there wasn’t actually skin on any of the chickens nor did it seem like it was an option. I’m not sure if this is because people may be grossed out by the look of boiled chicken skin, but in my opinion is the part that contains the most flavor. With other cultural versions one typically gets half the chicken; both white and dark meat.
However it seemed like almost all of it was white meat. We weren’t sure whether that was coincidence or by design. Suffice to say, I was a little saddened by the absence of the dark stuff. White meat can be a little tough, and I had wished this was not the case. In my experience, it wasn’t as moist as I know boiled chicken can be.
While Nong’s didn’t live up to the expectation and hype in my mind, I still found it a very solid dish.
On top of which, I really did like both the Thai chilis and homemade sauce they gave with your meal. Both offered a nice kick to the dish that was greatly appreciated. The sauce is so good that it’s no wonder that they bottle the stuff up for your own home cooking.
F8T Tip If you’re looking for the one downtown, know now that they are closed on the weekends.