Polo Fried Chicken: Roadside restaurant serving fried chicken, spicy grilled beef salad & papaya salad for 50 years

Polo Fried Chicken, or Soi Polo, is a legendary name for fried chicken in Bangkok. How did the restaurant get its name?  Well, it’s located in front of the Polo Club RBSC and specialises in selling fried chicken. It has been operating for 3 generations spanning over 50 years and has been in the Michelin Guide since 2018. 

Polo Fried Chicken - Store front

They serve Isaan cuisine which is in the northeastern region of Thailand that borders Laos, but specialises in fried chicken. Seeing how I was in Bangkok, I decided to pay a visit. 

Not too far from Lumphini Park nestled in Sanam Khli Alley, Polo Fried Chicken sits behind a 7-Eleven occupying 2 shop lots. I managed to arrive just before noon and secured a seat at the newer shop lot with air conditioning.

Polo Fried Chicken - Vibes

Observing the somewhat bustling atmosphere of the restaurant, I was surprised that the place was filled with locals in groups of 5 to 6, happily enjoying their meal. The aroma of Thai food wafted in the air and made my stomach grumble. I had skipped breakfast to make sure I made the most out of my meal here, so I was ready to dig in.

What I tried at Polo Fried Chicken

Polo Fried Chicken - Fried chicken

It’s no surprise that I ordered the iconic fried chicken, or gai tod as the locals call it, and chose ½ of the Fried Chicken (TBH130) to share among my parents and myself.

Polo Fried Chicken - Chicken side view

When it arrived, the fried chicken was practically begging to be eaten. I mean, just look at all that golden crisped skin and the garlic that’s piled on top! At first glance, I could tell that the chicken wasn’t too oily nor too dry— it was the perfect balance between the two.

Polo Fried Chicken - Pre-cut chicken

I sampled a slice of the pre-cut chicken— the succulent meat was flavourful and melted effortlessly in my mouth. It had been marinated well and fried to an ideal crispiness. Considering they’ve been perfecting their fried chicken for years, it’s no surprise that the cooks at this establishment know precisely how to nail the frying process.

The deep-fried garlic contributed a sweet and nutty flavour to the overall taste. Although I typically don’t gravitate towards garlic, I found myself reaching for more. By the time I took a second helping of chicken, the fried garlic was all gone (oops).

Polo Fried Chicken - Somtum

The second dish that arrived on our table was the Papaya Salad (somtum) with Salted Egg and Dried Shrimp (TBH100). It featured shredded green papaya with tomatoes, green beans, roasted peanuts, garlic, chillies, lime juice, fish sauce, and palm sugar alongside a whole salted egg and some dried shrimp.

Polo Fried Chicken - Somtum action shot

People always say that any Thai chicken dish isn’t complete without somtum, and I agree. The somtum itself possessed a tangy and subtle sour flavour and the shredded green papaya was crunchy despite being soaked in the blend of sauces.

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The salted egg provided a rich and creamy texture, balancing out the dish while the dried shrimp added an umami flavour. Suffice to say, the somtum was a harmony of flavours effortlessly blended together.

Polo Fried Chicken - Spicy grilled beef salad

Next up was the Spicy Grilled Beef Salad (TBH120). It featured grilled beef, onions, mint leaves, cilantro, lime juice, fish sauce, and chilli.

Polo Fried Chicken - Spicy grilled beef salad action shot

The beef slices exhibited a tender yet chewy texture, enhanced by the enticing smokiness acquired during the grilling process.

They absorbed the savoury and tangy notes of the dressing, complemented by a subtle kick of spice. The robust and zesty flavours of the beef paired wonderfully with the tanginess found in the somtum.

Polo Fried Chicken - Spicy beef soup

We also ordered the Spicy Beef Soup (TBH100).  At this point, you might be thinking, “Wow, that’s quite a bit of spicy food!”. I’ll let you in on a little tip— always request less spiciness since Thais generally enjoy dishes with a significant amount of chilli.

The soup consisted of beef, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, bird’s eye chilli shallots, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and cilantro. Of course, the beef was tender and fatty, providing the melt-in-your-mouth texture that I love. 

The soup had a tangy kick, with a spiciness that had a distinct nose-tingling effect. A subtle sweetness lingered afterwards, perhaps from the tomatoes or some secret ingredient. Nonetheless, the soup was truly delightful.

Polo Fried Chicken - Thai curry fishcake

Let’s not forget the Fried Curry Fishcake (TBH120). These fishcakes are mixed with red curry paste to give it a distinctive Thai taste.

Polo Fried Chicken - Fishcake

The fishcakes presented a good blend of flavours and textures, striking a perfect balance between spicy notes, subtle sweetness, and fragrant herbs. This palm-sized treat was rich in seafood essence and offered a refreshing contrast to the beef and chicken offerings.

Polo Fried Chicken - Sticky rice

To wrap everything up, we ordered 2 packets of Sticky Rice (TBH20 each). When dining at Thai restaurants, my strategy is typically to focus more on the main dishes than on the rice.

The sticky rice had a delightful chewiness without being overly starchy. Its well-defined grains indicated skillful cooking. Moreover, it served as an ideal companion for soaking up the sauces and residual dressings from both the Somtum and Spicy Grilled Beef Salad.

Final thoughts

Polo Fried Chicken - Final thoughts

After 20 minutes, the 3 of us had finished our plates, with sweat trickling down our faces from all that spiciness. We had to take a 5-minute break before requesting the bill.

In conclusion, Polo Fried Chicken is definitely worth a visit. My meal was full of flavours and full of colours, too. I’ve never had such perfectly-fried chicken in my life, and I see myself returning for more delicious chicken.

For those who eat pork, I’ve heard great things about the Grilled Pork Neck (TBH100) and Thai Braised Pork Belly (TBH150). If you ever visit Polo Fried Chicken, give these dishes a try and let me know your thoughts.

Expected damage: TBH200 – TBH400 per pax

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Our Rating: 4.5 / 5

Polo Fried Chicken

137/1-3 Sanam Khli Alley, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok, Thailand 10330

Price
Our Rating 4.5/5

Polo Fried Chicken

137/1-3 Sanam Khli Alley, Lumphini, Pathum Wan, Bangkok, Thailand 10330

Telephone: +66 81300 4444
Operating Hours: 7am - 8.30pm (Daily)
Telephone: +66 81300 4444

Operating Hours: 7am - 8.30pm (Daily)

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