There’s this really rad restaurant just south of Mae Hong Son, named Chay Thung (“At the edge of the fields”), that makes the greatest hay-roasted yardbird (kai op faang) around. It’s a family-run farm that decided to open their own spot at their house (Which is a common enough thing around Thailand and the rest of SE Asia). All herbs, vegetables and proteins are either grown, raised or foraged on site.
They serve a few solid Northern Thai dishes (laap pet for sure), but it’s the chicken that steals the show. After rice harvest, there’s a lot of rice stalks around. So the family decided to use the abundance to their advantage.
They take the bird that they have marinated in fish sauce, MSG and garlic, and place it on top of a bottle filled with water. On top of the bird goes an old oil can to act as an oven (You don’t find many ovens in rural Thailand), and a giant mound of dried rice stalks are tossed on top.
Lit on fire, the stalks burn for about twenty minutes, and the chicken cooks to a perfect doneness and crispness inside its oven. While that’s happening, the head, gizzards, feet and neck are poached in an ungodly broth with lemongrass, ginger and turmeric. Pair it with some sticky rice and som tam, and you have a fantastic lunch hanging out in the family’s fields.
Oh yeah, the pic. It’s that look you give to @asiakasznia when you asked an hour ago for no more selfies.
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