Chick'n Rice Opening in Berkeley

A team of UC Berkeley grads is launching this Thai-fast casual concept.


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Image courtesy of Chick'n Rice

Opening in downtown Berkeley next month is Chick'n Rice, a fast-casual Thai concept founded by the Umai Hospitality Group, comprising UC Berkeley alumni Jason Wang, Shawn Tsao, Vince Cao, and John Keh, who also created the food-delivery app Caviar and own the Pacific Northwest region of the Halal Guys franchise.

According to SF Eater, the team "sold Caviar to mobile payments company Square in 2014 for a reported $90 million in stock."

The team got the idea for Chick'n Rice on a trip to Thailand, where they were enchanted with khao mun gai, a type of street food involving tender chicken slices served with fragrant rice and poached in a rich broth and a piquant gingery, garlicky, chili-peppery sauce. 

Sampling version after version of khao mun gai as they traveled from city to city, the team finally found what they decided was the perfect combination when they worked with Bangkok restaurateur Chavayos Rattakul, who developed the recipe that will be served at Chick'n Rice.

Mere steps away from the founders' alma mater, the Berkeley location will be Chick'n Rice's first. Protein options will include two different types chicken but also pork and a vegetarian version. The menu will also include coconut-milk ice cream, Thai iced tea, and other items.

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