Multiple locations, including 609 SE Ankeny St., Suite C, 740-2907, khaomangai.com. Lunch and dinner daily.
Nong Poonsukwattana knew Portland didn't need another typical Thai restaurant. That was obvious when she arrived on the heels of her now-ex-husband, who attended Portland State. After a year working at Pok Pok, she got an idea. She bought a food cart just ahead of full-blown cartmania and started to work on making the perfect chicken and rice. The eponymous dish at Nong's is still the main offering, seven years and several offshoots later. You need nothing else: tender chicken served on a bed of rice with soybean sauce and a little palate-cleansing soup. It's sticky, rich, beautiful and perfect, exploding with ginger and chili and garlic. It is, Poonsukwattana says, exactly what she would serve to her friends or family.