Pad krapao gai is an extremely popular one-plate dish served at many roadside stalls and restaurants throughout Thailand. The main ingredient is usually chicken (gai), but pork (moo) or shrimps (kung) are also common alternatives to chicken. Using the example of pad krapao gai, the chicken is stir-fried in oyster and soy sauce with a combination of chillies, green beans, garlic, sugar and holy basil. The Thai word for stir-fried is ‘pad’ which may also be written as ‘pat’, ‘phad’ or ‘phat’ e.g. Phat Thai (stir-fried rice noodles). The dish tends to have a bit of a kick from the chillies although this can be toned down if you ask for it ‘mai phet’ (not spicy).
pad krapao gai khai dao (stir fried chicken with holy basil and fried egg on top of rice)
Krapao is served with rice and comes with the option of an additional fried egg (khai dao). The fried egg might seem an odd choice of topping at first glance, but this is the way Thais tend to order this dish and the egg really does add to the combination of flavours and is something I would definitely recommend trying at least once. Another option sometimes available is to have the chicken made crispy (kai grob) or served tempura-style in batter (pictured below).
crispy chicken, holy basil and heart-shaped rice for just 35 Baht!
A regular dish of pad krapao gai in Thailand from a plain roadside restaurant will cost an average of 30-40 Baht with a small extra charge of around 5-7 Baht if you would like a fried egg on top.