The first thing I noticed about Eim Khao Mun Kai was the chorus line of bald chickens hanging from what looked to be a street food set-up. The second thing was the aroma. The perfume of gingery rice and chicken stock was incredibly comforting. Eim serves one thing and one thing only: Thai style chicken and rice or khao mun kai, known elsewhere in Southeast Asia as Hainanese chicken and rice. In fact it’s listed on Eim’s menu as Hainanese chicken and rice. After walking by the month-old shop twice while on the way to a bowl of cold busting soup at Pata Paplean, I finally gave Eim a try.
I opted for the combo ($8.99), which includes a mound of ginger rice heaped with boneless chicken and a sidecar of soup. It’s served with a zippy ginger garlic sauce. The chicken itself was pleasant enough, but didn’t have the silky gelatinous texture that I associate with Hainanese chicken and rice. This did not stop me from devouring the entire portion, which I doctored up crushed chilies, fresh garlic, and sweet soy sauce. The mellow rice flavored with ginger and chicken stock and the bird itself made for a lovely spring brunch. Best of all about half way through the waiter brought over another bowl of soup.
As I sipped the second bowl of broth I came to the conclusion the folks at Eim offer some mighty fine comfort food. They seem to be doing a bustling business so I can only assume that the textural issue is a matter of taste rather than technique. I have a feeling I will be availing myself of their comforting khao mun kai once more before spring finally takes hold.
Eim Khao Mun Kai, 81-32 Broadway, Elmhurst, 718-424-7156