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Finger lickin' good

PHUKET: This week’s Street Eat is a popular snack for Thais and foreigners alike – delicious grilled chicken.

Friday 25 May 2012, 03:54PM

One of the best places to buy this is from the Gai Yang Suthep (Mr Suthep’s grilled chicken) restaurant belonging to Suthep Kotchanart, who is originally from Surat Thani.

Mr Suthep started cooking his now famous gai yang for students at Phuket Wittayalai School in 1974, and has now become something of a grilled chicken icon in Phuket.

However, while he can sometimes be seen in the restaurant, most of the day-to-day running of the shop is now done by his son, Suwat.

Mr Suwat said his father first started selling the gai yang outside the school for two months, then was asked to move into the school’s canteen because the chicken was so popular.

“The school’s director asked him to sell his chicken inside because the students were always going out of school to buy his gai yang, instead of having lunch in the canteen.

"My father spent more than 10 years selling chicken at the school canteen, so many of our customers are alumni of the school.”

“The most popular type of chicken for students at that time was the spicy battered fried chicken, called gai rong rien (school chicken). We used to sell more than 1,000 pieces of this chicken per day, and it is still on the menu now,” he said.

Mr Suthep eventually moved the restaurant to Phuket Rd, near the Phuket Marine Police Station, before moving again to Rassadanusorn Road, at the intersection with Ruamphathana Road.

“The most popular food item today is the spicy grilled chicken. The chicken’s skin is crispy, and the meat is very soft and spicy,” says Mr Suwat.

These days he grills and fries about 30 chickens per day.

There are lots of different options for Mr Suwat’s chicken, including plain, spicy grilled chicken, and battered fried chicken. All are delicious served with spicy homemade sauce, tom yum soup, or yellow steamed rice.

The restaurant is open daily (closed Sundays) from midday until 10pm. Chicken is priced at B20-B200, and yellow steamed rice is B10 per serving.

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