Why I Love Nong’s Bottled Khao Man Gai Sauce

Whether you make it from our recipe or buy a bottle as the ultimate convenience, this sauce will be your new favorite.     

Published Sept. 22, 2023.

Last year, I had a life-changing food find.

I was perusing the shelves of Onggi, one of my favorite stores where I live in Maine, and I saw a bottle with a bright label that read “Nong’s.”

I had heard of Nong’s Khao Man Gai, the Portland, Oregon staple that has been famously making their delicious namesake dish (and other Thai specialties) since 2009. Khao man gai is a simple, delectable meal of poached chicken and rice served with a savory broth and dipping sauce. 

The sauce is a tangy, sweet, and savory mix of ginger, soy sauce, coconut palm sugar, soybean paste, vinegar, chiles, garlic, and Thai pandan leaves. It’s the stuff of Thai street food dreams. 

And I had just learned I could get it from Nong’s (via either my neighborhood shop or online order) anytime I wanted. 

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I started putting the sauce in and on everything—stir-fries, eggs, marinades for grilled chicken or steak, soups—or even simply poured over rice. It was my constant answer for “what should I eat with this dish?” 

The sauce was incredible on everything I tried it with, but I wanted to learn more about the origin of the recipe. I also wanted to make khao man gai myself, to let the sauce shine with its original intended accompaniments. 

Happily, I searched for the dish on our site and realized that Bryan Roof and the gang at Cook’s Country visited Nong’s for a 2020 issue

They featured an interview with founder Nong Poonsukwattana on an episode of the Cook’s Country television series and worked with her to develop a recipe for khao man gai (including the scrumptious sauce!) that you can make at home.

Making the dish from scratch is relatively simple, and it’s a great way to learn more about cooking with flavors from Southeast Asia. And nothing is more comforting when I’m sick than a bowl of aromatic, steamy chicken and rice with piping hot broth and a side of khao man gai sauce.  

But some ingredients for the sauce, including fermented soybean paste and pandan leaves, can be difficult to source. Asian grocery stores will carry them, but buying the bottled sauce is a great shortcut to getting khao man gai on the table quickly.

I also love to keep the bottled sauce in my fridge to help with all sorts of meals. Lately I’ve been stir-frying shrimp or chicken or frying eggs sunny side up, and then serving it all over fried rice and cabbage with a dash of Nong’s from a bottle. 

Whatever your decision—bottled or homemade—you can’t go wrong with Nong’s.


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