The restaurant opened in late November at 225 E. Middlefield Road in Mountain View. The owners, a husband and wife team from Thailand, want to bring "real" Thai food to the Peninsula, said manager Yanisa Thian.
Pork larb with sticky rice from Khao Kang Thai Kitchen. Image via Yelp.
The wife, who declined to use her name in this article, hails from a suburb close to Bangkok and has worked in the local restaurant industry for years. She's a passionate cook, Thian said, and is heading the kitchen at Khao Kang. Her husband, Watcharin Chokchaitaweefup, is from Chiang Mai in northern Thailand and runs Sawadee Thai Massage in the same Mountain View strip mall as the restaurant.
Every person working at Khao Kang is also from Thailand, Thian said.
"We are mainly concerned with real Thai food," she said. "We don't serve fusion or anything like that."
Khao Kang is named for a type of Thai street food served over rice, Thian said. They make several versions, including kow ka pow (pork with basil, chili, garlic and onion over rice, topped with a fried egg) and kow kana (crispy pork belly with Chinese broccoli and garlic over rice and a fried egg). You can adjust the spice levels, from no spice to the hottest "Thai spice," and also swap pork for chicken, tofu, prawns or beef.
The restaurant also serves esan dishes from northeast Thailand, where the food shows influences of the neighboring Laos, Thian said. There's hor mok pla, or fish curry steamed in banana leaves, and kai jiaw moo sub, a crispy omelette with pork.
Hor mok pla, or fish curry steamed in banana leaves, from Khao Kang Thai Kitchen in Mountain View. Image via Yelp.
And that papaya salad with anchovies and chili is more flavorful and spice-packed than the versions local diners might be used to, Thian said.
"Most Thai restaurants here would serve Thai style (papaya salad) — only sweet and sour and nothing much going on. This is a lot more complex and a lot of flavor," she said.
Other dishes on the menu include pineapple fried rice, tom yum soup, larb salad and grilled chicken.
Khao Kang replaced fast-casual Asian eatery Srasa Kitchen.
Khao Kang is open for outdoor dining, takeout and delivery Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5-9:30 p.m.