Oh, that chicken house in Pratunam

“YOU’RE going to Bangkok? If you’re heading to the area of CentralWorld mall or Pratunam, you should eat at this restaurant that serves specialty chicken. In fact, let me give you a list of the other places you should try,” offered Gene Gonzales.

 

Hainanese chicken rice is the house specialty of Kuang Heng in Pratunam, Bangkok
After recommendation, it took 5 years before I finally ate at this Pratunam hole in the wall restaurant & another 3 years before I finally put a name to what I always refer to as the “chicken place” aka Kuang Heng

 

If there is one reliable source for must-try food you’d believe in, it would be a chef, a popular Pinoy chef at that.

That was perhaps seven years ago, three years into my regular visit to the Big Mango.

But it wasn’t after five years, in 2014, that I was able to step on that hole in a wall restaurant out of sheer hunger while I was in the area of Pratunam. Either I try the food court at the Platinum mall or “the small restaurant on the next block,” as one local recommended.

I opted to cross the street and let the chicken sign do the talking. The signage was in Thai, but the orange fowl told me I was at the right place (so did the whiff of barbecue chicken on the grill that made my stomach growl with hunger).

 

Cooked fresh daily, the chicken & pork satay at Kuang Heng in Pratunam, Bangkok
2 in 1. I’m a fan of barbecued chicken & peanut sauce. Pick a number & its the ready to grill

 

The place reminded me of the small, non-air-conditioned Chinese restaurants in Escolta. It had four tables (three can squeeze in six, the last one four) to share.

 

Kuang Heng reminds me of a Binondo resto in Manila
The place reminds me of the Chinese restos in Escolta, small, no air conditioning yet popular because of the food it serves

 

Kuang Heng serves coffee and milk tea among other drinks\
The other half of the place is the coffee & tea bar

 

On it are the condiments, a pitcher of service tea to share with tablemates and the utensils tin case.

 

Iced tea all you can when you eat at Kaung Heng in Pratunam, Bangkok
A pitcher of tea on each table. Shaved ice in a tin cup is served with the food order

 

The menu had photos of the dishes and had English translations. It also showed how inexpensive (ok, cheap) the cost was.

Hunger dictated the order – an order of chicken rice and 10-sticks chicken barbecue.

Service was quick. Set before me were a plate of Hainanese chicken rice with a bowl of its spicy sauce, a bowl of complimentary clear soup, barbecue chicken in mini skewers with Thai peanut sauce, a bowl of salad comprised of fresh green chili, onions and cucumber in sweetened vinegar sauce, and shaved ice in a tin cup to cool the service tea.

 

My favorite at Kuang Hen in Pratunam Bangkok- the chicken satay
Always a part of my Kuang Hen meal, the chicken rice is the other.

 

Don't be deceived, this salad with chili is not hot. Serrved at Kuang Heng in Pratunam, Bangkok
Close-up: Nope, not hot at all. This refreshing & sweetened salad, paired with the satay chicken, is a perfect combination

 

I dug in like I haven’t eaten in ages. Well, it was lunch at mid-afternoon, the perfect time to dine in the restaurant, as it gets pretty busy during its peak hours.

The Hainanese chicken was tender and the spicy sauce heightened the flavor of the dish. Pairing perfectly with it was the refreshing sweet and mildly spicy fresh salad (don’t be deceived by the slices of the green pepper).

 

Hainanese Chicken Rice at Kuang Heng, Pratunam, Bangkok
Kuang Heng’s very popular house specialty- the Hainanese Chicken Rice. Tasty, tender & very cheap

 

Give me flavorful and tender barbecued chicken any time and I’m a happy man. But bring in the peanut sauce with it then I’m even a happier man, and another serving of rice will always be in order. Am I a big fan of chicken satay, or not?

My feast, which was devoured in minutes, went for B110 (P148.50). How fantastic is that?

 

For a feast, it only cost me 100baht at Kuang Heng in Pratunam, Bangkok
This feast = 110baht. How can you beat that?

 

After the first bite, the chicken place became a regular stop for a meal whenever I find myself in the Pratunam area.

That was three years ago and believe it or not, it was only a couple of days ago that I asked Pete, a Thai friend of mine, to translate the chicken place’s signage, and it reads: ข้าวมันไก่  Khao man kai.Hainanese chicken rice, steamed chicken and white rice). ก่วงเฮง  (Kuang Heng), ประตูน้ำ (Pratunam).

The chicken place now has a name and it occurred to me that this was the restaurant Chef Gene was telling me about. He was right about Kuang Heng. It’s a good, cheap place to eat in Bangkok.

Kuang Heng is located at the junction of Pratunam and Ratchaprasong Roads, on the opposite block of Platinum Mall (on the left if facing the mall).

*****

Email me at jinggoysalvador@yahoo.com. For more lifestyle & travel stories, visit ofapplesandlemons.com and jeepneyjinggoy.com

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 14, 2016.

 

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