Koon Thai Hai Nam Chicken
Time Out says
To get to this restaurant we went to Aberdeen, looked for a big yellow sign on Aberdeen Main Road, entered through a dingy back alley, and descended down into a dark basement. First impressions weren’t encouraging.
The spacious dining area is filled with Thai decorations and rich dark woods, and is laid-out much like a fast-food chain. The menu is predominantly Thai comfort food (such as green curry, $XX), but we went straight for the signature Hainan chicken Thai-style with rice ($39). For this price, we'd usually expect frozen, bruised meat only saved by dousing it in plenty of ginger. At Koon, however, the chicken is silky and tender, with a thick rich yellow skin and no bones.
Also unlike traditional Hainan chicken, which comes with chilli dip, soy sauce and minced ginger, we were given a refreshing Thai chilli dip with lime juice. Even the accompanying chicken soup, reduced to MSG flavoured water in most restaurants, had a dignified presentation, with a sprinkle of coriander and slice of winter melon. Add an extra $10 for a double portion of the oily but fragrant flavoured rice, and wash it all down with a tall glass of lime soda ($16).
The Roasted Pork Skewers (four piece, $28) were slightly disappointing, fried instead of broiled over charcoal in true Thai street food style. But the hearty portion of Thai rice noodle with shredded chicken ($33) made up for it – the thin white noodles remained firm in the rich chicken broth. Points also go to the simple dish of choy sum in oyster sauce ($15), with a sprinkle of dried shallots giving it some extra flavour.
In sum, cheap eats may be everywhere in Hong Kong, but Koon Thai Hai Nam Chicken is real value for money, and it’s worth a trip alone for its namesake. Leslie Chan