What are the first things that come to mind when you consider a Thai meal, chillies? When you become a regular diner at Kin Khao, it may become those marinated deep-fried chicken wings. They burn your fingers, and they are quite messy but, boy, are they great? And, by the way, you do get a chilli sauce to dunk them in before devouring them!
The original site of this popular Bali eatery in Seminyak, now in four locations [also at Ubud, Legian], has evolved over the years. Gone are the days when you sat in front of open windows, onto the smelly, noisy Jln. Seminyak. Now the front has been glassed in there, and even has air-conditioning provided. Only the food hasn't changed! It is still good-value basic Thai food, home-cooking style.
Whilst Kin Khao lists a number of dishes as entrees, we usually give them a miss EXCEPT for the chicken wings [Peek Gai Tod Gratieam]. These are best ordered to arrive with the main courses anyway. Although if you want an early nibble whilst awaiting your main spread then the Poh Peah Tod [vegetarian spring rolls] are quite acceptable. Bite-sized chunks that can be smothered with chilli sauce.
The Tom Yum Goong [hot sour soup with prawns] is missing those big plump king prawns that make it a world favourite. At only Rp. 13,500++ it is not a surprise. The Tom Kah Gai [chicken in coconut milk is as dependable as ever.
A must here, to get that sour dish into your menu selection, is either the Som Tum Thai [pieces of green papaya tossed with beans, garlic, roasted peanuts, brown sugar, lime juice and chillies] or the Yum Voen Sen [vermicelli noodle salad with onion, tomato, chilli and lemon juice].
Gai Hoi Bay Teay, [seven pieces of marinated chicken wrapped in pandanas leaves, steamed and then deep-fried] is served with a sauce that is black and sticky, but nice]. Poo Ja [a mixture of minced crab and chicken stuffed back into a small crab shell and then deep fried, all four of them] is served with a chilli sauce.
A serving of How Mok Talay [steamed fish with red curry, egg & coconut custard, wrapped in a banana leaf basket] makes a total change in taste from everything else. There are three such bundles in one serve.
Main servings are quite small so a good number [at least three for two persons, six for four persons, should be ordered]. Everyone should get a taste, albeit small, of everything. If you want a green curry then the Gang Keauw-Wan is hard to go past [chicken, pork or prawns with beans, pumpkin, red peppers and basil]. Anything with Thai basil always has a fairly strong and strident taste for newcomers to Thai food.
The Gang Ga-Ree Gai [chicken breast in a yellow curry with potatoes and onions] is a much milder curry for those that want a break from the stronger tastes, even though the cooking here at Kin Khao is definitely not heavy handed. The use of chilli is quite minimal, particularly as compared to that wonderful street food of Thailand. A recent visit to the Kingdom reminded me, yet again, of how much street food is an integral part of a Thai's life. Furthermore, I have no doubt that, as street food goes, it has to be the most hygienic in the world. Without doubt it is definitely the most varied and interesting!
Stir-fry dishes such as Gang Panang Gai [chicken in a peanut curry with green, red peppers and basil is an old favourite as is the Gai Pad Med Mamuang Himmapan [chicken with cashews, Thai style].
In order to balance out all the strong tastes, why not finish your meal with Thailand's most traditional dessert, Khao Neow Mamuang [sticky rice with sweet mango].
You will have enjoyed a pleasant meal, in clean surroundings, at a very reasonable cost.