Sui Heng has been serving "khao man gai’ (Hainanese chicken rice) in Bangkok for nearly 70 years. The little shophouse at Yannawa has been hosting generations of local Bangkokians who yearned for their rich rendition of the much-loved chicken rice dish.
The Hainanese-style of preparing and serving poached chicken here is very similar to those at Hainanese places in Singapore (Tian Tian, Boon Tong Kee, etc.) and Malaysia (KL’s Loke Yun, Ipoh’s Lou Wong or Cowan Street) - chicken are lightly poached till just cooked, then dunked in cold water to stop the cooking process and to ensure smooth skin. Chicken is served at room temperature, with warm rice which has been cooked in chicken-scallion-ginger stock, with added chicken grease during cooking for flavour, and perfumed with pandanus leaves.
In Singapore and Malaysia, the chicken rice will be served with dark & light soysauce dips, and a spicy chilli-ginger sauce. In Thailand, a chilli-spiked bean-sauce dip is served instead, a nod to the large Taechiu (Chaozhou) segment of the Thai-Chinese populace. Other accompaniments are sticks of freshly-cut cucumber and a light chicken soup.
Peter, thanks for the recommendation! I visited this place yesterday and it was very good! I ordered the Hainanese chicken and the Super Soup with breast and wing. The rice was tasty and the chicken was really flavorful. But this main hit for me was the Super Soup! It was full of cabbage and carrot and chunks of chicken and was spiced just hot enough to make my forehead sweat. I ended up dunking the Hainan chicken in it for extra flavor, then poured all the rice and cucumbers in as well. Delicious! The flavors were layered, there was just a lot of flavor in every spoonful.
I originally ordered the soup with chicken leg but the young lady called out to the owner to explain to me that legs come with chicken feet and I was, “Yeah, I will take the wing and breast instead!” LOL! I can eat chicken and duck feet but I would just as soon not.
Great cafe, good people, I will definitely go back next time I am in Bangkok!
ZivBnd, I’m glad you enjoyed it there. I’ve always relished my visits to Bangkok (my maternal grandparents are Thai-Teochew Chinese from there, before they moved to Singapore).
I covered Sui Heng @ Yanawa as I wanted to visit most of Bangkok’s old eating places in the past year or so as part of my nostalgic food trip down places I know from childhood. So, besides 70-year-old Sui Heng, I’d also done:
Prachak is next on my list. I want to try a quarter duck with the egg noodle and 100 g. of the red pork. Though I have to admit the shrimp wonton looks really good too.
And the owner of Sui Heng was very welcoming. Really a good guy! I have found that when you really like their food, it makes the owner/chef think more positively of you!
I am off to Chiang Mai on the night train tomorrow, so it will be a different city to search for good food!
Mind you, Prachak’s “red pork” (moo daeng), although it’s derived from Cantonese “char siu” (caramelised BBQ pork), bore little resemblance to its Chinese counterpart. The Thai version is sweeter, has different spice marinade, and is “wetter”.
Chiang Mai is a very tourist-friendly city, and the eating & drinking scene is pretty exciting. My personal fave dining spot is Nasi Jumpru, located a short distance outside the city:
Another place recommended to me in Chiang Mai was Saiyut’s Kitchen. More expensive than the usual Chiang Mai prices.
But the one place I’d highly recommend and which you should not miss is Khao Soi Samerjai. Its rendition of the Northern curried noodle is stupendous!