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Award-Winning Thai Food Vendor Opens After-Hours Pop-Up in LIC Bagel Shop

By Jeanmarie Evelly | May 19, 2017 5:45pm | Updated on May 22, 2017 7:11am
 The Tom Yum Noodles from Khao Man Gai NY.
The Tom Yum Noodles from Khao Man Gai NY.
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Bradley Hawks/Courtesy Khao Man Gai NY

HUNTERS POINT —Thai street food vendor Khao Man Gai NY has some new digs: taking over the kitchen at a Long Island City bagel shop after the store closes for the day, where it will operate as an after-hours pop-up eatery for the next few months.

Husband-and-wife owners Eric and Emorn Henshaw (who goes by her nickname, Off) made a name for themselves serving authentic Thai dishes at flea markets and to office workers at The Falchi Building, winning a coveted Vendy Award in 2013 and a review in the New York Times.

Now they've set up shop at Bricktown Bagels, on Vernon Boulevard near 51st Avenue, where they're serving their signature chicken-and-rice dish as well as an expanded menu from Tuesdays to Sundays between 6 to 10 p.m., after the bagel store wraps up service.

"Obviously, the resources of having a full kitchen allow us to do a little bit more," said Eric Henshaw, who said he reached out to Bricktown's owner to set up the partnership, which launched about four weeks ago.

Bricktown has hosted other food vendors as pop-ups in the past, including Japanese eatery Mu Ramen — which now has its own brick-and-mortar restaurant in the neighborhood — and a Korean fried chicken vendor.

Khao Man Gai NY is also offering delivery from the bagel store, where its menu includes its namesake dish of khao man gai, which is chicken in a garlic and ginger sauce served over jasmine rice, and topped with cucumbers and cilantro.

New additions to the menu include another version of the dish made with fried chicken instead, as well as a rice noodle dish called Yen Ta Fo, which comes in a pork broth with crab stick, fish ball, fish tofu, shrimp ball, and a medley of toppings and seasonings.

Other new offerings include a grilled sweet corn appetizer which is popular on the beaches of Thailand, or Look Chin Tod — a deep fried quail egg wrapped in wonton, fish tofu and crabmeat wrapped with tofu skin that's served with a homemade sweet-and-sour sauce.

Khao Man Gai NY Left: organic chicken wings. Right: khao man gai, a chicken and rice dish (Credit: Khao Man Gai NY)

"At the new location we're able to offer a lot more," said Henshaw, who said his wife, who is originally from Thailand, comes up with all the recipes.

"We're still focused on the street food aspect of Thai cuisine," he explained. "We sort of differentiate ourselves by doing dishes that aren't found in most Thai restaurants."

Khao Man Gai NY is still serving lunch weekdays on the first floor of The Falchi Building, an office and manufacturing complex on 47th Avenue and 31st Street, where they've been a vendor for more than three years.

But the Bricktown Bagels pop-up will let them do more with more space, and the couple hopes to use it as the next stop in their plan to eventually open a full-fledged restaurant of their own in Long Island City.

"The idea is to build up a customer base in this immediate neighborhood," Henshaw said. "We're hoping to use this as a springboard for something more permanent."

Khao Man Gai NY's pop-up at Bricktown Bagels, located at 51-06 Vernon Blvd., is currently open from 6 to 10 p.m. from Tuesday to Sunday.