Austin has a new restaurant dedicated to kao mun gai — Hainan chicken and rice — courtesy of new ghost kitchen spot Mother Klucker. The iconic Southeast Asian dish is available for pickup and deliveries through third-party services from ghost kitchen hub Cloud Kitchens on 5610 North I-35 in the North Loop neighborhood as of February 1.
Mother Klucker’s Hainanese chicken rice is made up of chicken that is seasoned and massaged with salt, and then poached for 45 minutes. The rice is made with both chicken broth and chicken fat. Rounding out the dish are cucumbers, cilantro, chicken broth, and the restaurant’s house sauce made with Thai chili, soy sauce, soybean paste, ginger, garlic, and cilantro (there’s a sweet version too).
Other menu items include variations of the iconic dish, including one with tofu, a keto iteration, and options with only lean or dark meat. The sole dessert is khao neow ma muang: mango slices atop sticky rice with coconut milk. Drinks include Thai iced tea and coconut water.
Behind Mother Klucker are co-owners chef Char Chongchitmate (who oversees Thai ghost kitchen restaurant Charoen Express) and Bua Vanitsthian (Bay Area-based ghost kitchen restaurant Chicken as Cluck, which has a location in Austin).
Chongchitmate had been wanting to open a Hainan chicken business to honor his mother, using a family recipe from his grandmother who had cooked and sold the dish in Thailand. He met Vanitsthian because the two operate in the Cloud Kitchens Austin space. “We bonded over our love for kao mun gai,” he shares in a press release. Opening Mother Klucker together “just made sense with my Thai food background and Bua’s focus on chicken at her restaurant.”
The first part of Mother Klucker’s name stems from Chongchitmate’s wish to honor his mother, and the second because of its chicken focus and as a reference to Vanitsthian’s restaurant.