The word “Kin Kao” is a Thai greeting meaning “have you eaten yet?” Many Asian cultures have this as a way of greeting due to past unabundance times. Kin Kao opened in February 2018. Many food critics say they are an authentic Thai restaurant lacking culture. While that is somewhat true, I believe that was a business decision based on surrounding demography. Kin Kao Thai Kitchen is located on Commercial Drive near Venables Street, Vancouver.
Strength: Good food that really hit the spot with complex flavour
Weakness: Modification starting to steer away from authentic thai food
Other Thai Cuisine
The exterior of Kin Kao is not very pronounced. The only way to spot them is from the small sandwich board sign and the white text on the clear window. If you see a line up, it’s most likely for the “Down Low Chicken” next door.
Interior looks like Ikea
Once I enter, I see a large dining area to the right and a smaller one to the left. The entrance is located at the focal point where the two long narrow dining areas converge. The interior has very simple and subtle use of color with a gray tone. Their theme color is dark blue, with a lot of beech wood furniture. There is about 30 seats in this restaurant.
The bar facing the smaller dining area
This side of the dining room has a bar. The cashier is also to the left. Two waitresses working that day were both Caucasian lady. Behind the column, is the open kitchen where you can hear the two chefs communicating with Thai.
Minimalist contemporary design
The table and chairs are made of unpolished beech wood. They have very simple and elegant design. Attention to detail can be seen at the joint of these furniture.
Sequence to serving the food need to be improved
We arrived at 6:20 pm when there was only 3 other tables. It wasn’t until 6:55 pm our pork collar appetizer arrive to our table. By this time, the table next to ours came and ordered after us. They finished their 3-course dinner and left by 6:58. Our main course did not arrive until much later.
The bottle of ice water is a life saver
Our server gave us a bottle of cold water on the side. This was really essential. We ordered our main course at the maximum spicy level and this bottle of cold water really saved us.
The plates were tastefully selected
The plates in front of each customers looks hand-made. They have the same size and profile but with different design. Even so, these designs are congruent to each other.
Pork collar skewers
The charcoal grilled pork collar was marinated with garlic, black pepper, palm sugar, oyster sauce, and fish sauce. These ingredients made the pork collar quite sweet. The pork taste was very carefully masked, but if you pay attention it is still there.
This dish comes with sweet and sour dipping sauce to make the meat feel less greasy. The bamboo skewer tips have been dulled for safety. The meat has varying thickness throughout each skewer and they are very tender for pork collar.
Panaeng Chicken Curry
One of the most famous Thai dishes is Panaeng chicken curry. It has a lot of thinly sliced chicken breast seasoned with chili, garlic, ginger, with palm sugar and fish sauce. On top of all that, there is drizzled coconut milk with lots of lime leaf slices subtle gives a slight fruity fragrance.
When they say spicy, they really mean it. We ordered the highest level of spiciness and it was extremely spicy. You can also taste the sweet and sour base with coconut milk, which somewhat masked the spiciness.
Roti was cut into 4 pieces. I can’t stop thinking this cost me $1 each.
The roti was deep-fried. It is crispy and very fluffy on the inside.
After eating a couple, I have realized there is oil pooled at the bottom.
Thai basil stir fry.
The Thai Basil stir fry has minced chicken, with long beans and onions. Most flavour comes from the oyster sauce and fish sauce. Thai holy basil was an explosion of flavour and made this dish quite unforgettable.
Coconut Crème Brûlée
Dessert was Coconut creme brûlée. The $6.50 price point is not too bad. There are lots of coconut taste packed in the consistent textured cream. The top caramel was crispy and delightful. it is very refreshing after all the Thai Spicy main course.
604 Food Critic Assessment
Overall, I think Kin Kao is an above-average Thai restaurant. It cost us $35 per person because each main course cost about $20. I like how they are serious about spicy food. They are also comfortable spicy, with no chemical taste. I was sweating like a waterfall by the end of it, but the burning sensation did not linger to cause any discomfort in my mouth. I would recommend Kin Kao, but wouldn’t’ come here often due to the high cost.
How to get in touch
- Phone: (604) 558-1125
- Address: 903 Commercial Dr, Vancouver
- Lunch Hours: 11:30 am – 3:00 pm, Closed Sunday & Monday
- Dinner Hours: 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm, Closed Sunday