Austin’s newest Thai concept has a lot going for it. Mama Klucker, a new ghost kitchen specializing in Kao Mun Gai, the popular poached chicken and rice dish from Southeast Asia, is now open for takeaway and delivery service in Austin.
Mama Klucker, located in the Cloud Kitchens facility at 5610 N. IH-35, is a collaboration between two neighbors of restaurateurs who work in the ghost kitchen arena: Chef Char Chongchitmate from the newly opened Thai restaurant Charoen Express and Bua Vanitsthian , Co-owner of Chicken as Cluck, a Nashville-style hot chicken concept.
“We came together through our love for Kao Mun Gai,” says Chongchitmate, noting that the dish is probably best known to Westerners as simply Thai chicken rice. “It just made sense with my Thai food background and Bua’s focus on chicken in her restaurant. We have also operated ghost kitchens in the same room. “
There are a variety of Keto, Lean, and Veggie Kao Mun Gai starters, but when it comes to the menu, the Iconic, a traditional Kao Mun Gai dish, rules the quarters at Mother Klucker. The chicken gets its extra juicy consistency from a salt massage and 45-minute poaching. Mama Klucker’s “fat rice”, rice cooked in chicken broth and chicken fat, adds flavor to the dish, which is served with coriander, cucumber and chicken broth.
But according to Chongchitmate, it’s Mother Klucker’s sauces that are particularly tasty.
“The die-hard chicken rice fans will tell you that it is the sauce that makes or breaks a particular plate of Kao Mun Gai,” he says, adding that all Kao Mun Gai orders are served with Mother’s Lucky Sauce, a slightly flavorful mix from classics Thai flavors garlic, ginger, soybean paste, Thai chilli, coriander and soy sauce. A sweet version of the soybean and sugar sauce is also available. By adding both sauces, Mutter Klucker’s Kao Mun Gai gets a more traditional, balanced flavor combination.
Kao Mun Gai lovers have Chongchitmate’s mother to thank for inspiring the new concept. (His mother taught him her food preparation secrets.) In fact, the recipe has strong family roots as it was passed down from Chongchitmates grandmother, who once made and sold Kao Mun Gai in Thailand.
With the aim of paying tribute to his mother with the court, Chongchitmate first revealed Kao Mun Gai as a special on his Charoen Express. It was so popular that he decided to convert the menu item into a full-time ghost kitchen concept.
Ghost kitchens have become more and more popular with restaurateurs in recent days, also because they do not require the expense of a traditional stationary restaurant. And in the era of COVID-19, when eating in a restaurant can be viewed as risky behavior, ghost kitchens offer restaurateurs a viable alternative.
Chongchitmate, who had previously worked at the Thai Lada and Madam Mam’s restaurants in Austin, had originally planned to open his Charoen Express as an independent restaurant. Kitchen model that will open the “first Thai ghost kitchen in Texas” in December 2020.
“Without the option for guests to have dinner, it only made sense to move operations to delivery and take-away,” Chongchitmate said earlier about the opening of Charoen Express. “With the number of ghost kitchens growing in Austin, we wanted Charoen Express to be one step ahead of the trend.”
The latest ghost kitchen concept from Chongchitmate, mother Klucker, is currently offering online order pick-up and delivery via Door Dash and Uber Eats.