In 1988, my father, Bruce, sold his restaurant Rose et LeFavour in St. Helena, Calif., and took off to spend his first of several winters in Bangkok. He rented a small house on a dirt street, Soy Pra Atit, just four blocks away from the Bang Lamphu shopping district.
On the hottest days, tired from studying Thai at the language school, he would walk down to a takeout restaurant in that neighborhood where they cooked and sold only one item — gai yang. (The literal translation of gai yang is "cooped chicken" as opposed to gai ban, which means "yard chicken.")
He’d stand in a long line to order and then hang around for 15 to 20 minutes while the chickens grilled over a big charcoal fire. The wait was worth it. Half a large chicken, blistered and juicy, was 18 baht (50 cents), a whole was 30 baht (80 cents), and each order came with a cup of sauce and a large scoop of jasmine rice. He ordered his chicken cleaved into wonderfully irregular bony bits, and that’s how I recommend you do it here.
Click here to see 15 Great Grilled Chicken Recipes.