[Travelogue- Phuket] Phuket’s Best at Kota Khao Mun Kai

Thanks to a kind motorcyclist, we found what’s listed as Phuket’s best Chicken Rice, Kota Khao Mun Kai Restaurant. This is very exciting for me, being Queen of Chicken Rice. And to be at Phuket’s Best! My hopes and expectations were high… like up there high! But alas! My heart sank a little when our order arrived. The ensemble of plain looking poached chicken and char siu laid listlessly side by side. Not the most attractive dish beckoned to be savored.

IMG_5359
The ensemble of plain looking poached chicken and char siu laid side by side. It doesn’t scream: “EAT ME!”

“Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it!” I told myself. The lady boss helped us concoct a special spicy sour chili dip, claiming its better than the chili dip Singaporeans are used to. Now, the moment of truth….!  I sank my teeth into a piece of chicken and my eyes widened in marvel. The plain looking chicken flesh was in fact soft and delicate with a mild gingerly sweet flavor. Usually prefering dark meat, I found myself enjoying the tender lean chicken breast meat too. Unlike what we are used to, the chicken did not come doused in sesame soy dressing. It was chopped up, plated and served au naturel!

...soft and delicate with a mild gingerly sweet flavor...
…soft and delicate with a mild gingerly sweet flavor…

The rice, as we all know, an important role in this dish, was plump, tender and what’s that I taste…? Lemongrass!!?? I may be imagining it but whatever’s in there…? Nice touch!

Is that lemongrass I taste in the rice? I wondered...
Is that lemongrass I taste in the rice? I wondered…

The char siu, unfortunately was very ordinary.. Not something I’d order again and waste precious stomach space. Friendly lady boss treated us to a small bowl of sold out crispy roast pork (Siu Yuk). This was chopped up in thin slices, with crunchy skin in every bite, and was more aromatic than the ones we get in Singapore and Malaysia.

Crispy aromatic roast pork belly. Sold out by the time we got there!
Crispy aromatic roast pork belly. Sold out by the time we got there!

The owners, a husband and wife team, were super friendly and engaged us in a lengthy Teochew chatter, she being from Swatow! This is one place I’d fondly remember, if not for the chicken rice, for the warm friendly faces of Mr & Mrs Kota (not their real names!!). And knowing I could have my favorite comfort food right here in Phuket makes me love the island even more 🙂

The menu. Small but sufficient.
The menu. Small but sufficient.
What greets you at the door!
What greets you at the door!
The chef flashed us the warmest, most beautiful welcome smile!
The chef flashed us the warmest, most beautiful welcome smile!
Chicken and hot broth fly out the kitchen non-stop.
Chicken and hot broth fly out the kitchen non-stop.
Friendly
Friendly “Mrs Kota” hails from Swatow, China.
Kota
Kota Khao Mun Kai- Phuket’s best Chicken Rice is @ 16 – 18 Soi Surin Montri.

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