Jay Francis, Food Explorer: Afghani Nan at Kings Chicken

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When you order the 75-cent Afghani-style nan bread at Kings Chicken on Beechnut near Wilcrest, they bake it for you fresh, Jay Francis enthused.

We ordered some and then hung around the front counter and watched the cooks in the kitchen throwing the big piece of dough in the air like a good pizza crust. Then they slid the dough into the hot steel oven. A few minutes later, they brought the giant flatbread to our table – it was too hot to touch.

“This is the second best bread in Houston,” Francis said as we tore into the crispy-crusted, puffy loaf. (The best, he claimed, is the Afghani nan at Himalaya restaurant on Hillcroft.) The nan resembled a folded over pizza without any toppings. We used pieces of it to mop up some spicy chicken korma.

Kings Chicken is a funky, run-down fried chicken outlet that has been converted into a makeshift Indo-Pakistani restaurant. You can still get fried chicken – with nan bread of course – or you can get a nice plate of curry. We tried the chicken korma for $4.99 and a plate of goat korma for $6.99, and both were excellent. Two pieces of fried chicken are $2.49.

The food is excellent and inexpensive, the service dysfunctional. You might as well order in Spanish, because nobody speaks English – the kitchen crew is a mix of Afghanis and Salvadorans. The Spanish-speaking cleaning crew seems to be on a perpetual break – hence the tabletops are always a tad sticky.

If you are feeling adventurous early in the morning, try one of the wild breakfast combinations. There’s also a fairly normal-sounding egg and paratha bread breakfast for $5.99, and little puffy puri breads are two for a dollar. – Robb Walsh

Kings Chicken, 11300 Beechnut, 281-498-2900

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